Melting glaciers on Mt. Kilimanjaro pointer to climate change

Written By:  Judith Akolo

A swamp in the Amboseli National Park vital to wildlife

University of Nairobi Don, Dr. John Nyangaga is warning that climate change could spell doom to the survival livelihoods in the East African region.

The University of Nairobi lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies says the melting glaciers of Mount Kilimanjaro are a pointer to the devastating effect of climate change.

Dr. Nyangaga says the fast depletion of the snow cap on Africa’s highest mountain could see the Indian Ocean levels rise putting in danger the existence of the islands in the ocean.

The University Don who was coordinating an educational field trip of the coastal region for fourth year University of Nairobi students of Geography and Environmental Studies, further points out that the existence of the Amboseli National Park which gets its water from streams emanating from Mount Kilimanjaro could dry up once the snow cap is depleted.

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The Amboseli National Park Ranger, Elijah Mutua said the park is dependent on water springs associated with Mt. Kilimanjaro give rise to several swamps that are critical to wildlife in the Amboseli National Park.

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“The high primary productivity of the swamps is able to sustain a vast array of wildlife species and contributes to the high biodiversity and tourism value of the ecosystem,” says Mutua.

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However, Dr. Nyangaga says global warming and its predecessor, climate change spells doom for the Amboseli ecosystem which is fed by rivers emanating from Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Dr. Nyangaga further says the Mzima springs whose source in in the Amboseli Swamp that gets its water from Mt. Kilimanjaro is equally under threat.

The University Don avers that, “the chain reaction starting with the melting glaciers on Mt. Kilimanjaro, will lead to drying of rivers that feed the Amboseli Swamp, this will in turn affect water that feeds into Mzima Springs, and the result will be conflicts over water.”

The lecturer of Geography and Environmental Studies is now asking the coastal counties, including; Taita Taveta, Mombasa, Lamu, Kwale, Kilifi and Tana River need to join hands in conserving the region’s ecosystem.

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He is equally advising Kenya and Tanzania that share Mt. Kilimanjaro to put in measures to conserve the Mt. Kilimanjaro ecosystem so as to save the livelihoods downstream.

“Another solution lies in sustainable utilisation of water from the Mzima springs emanating from Mount Kilimanjaro,” says Dr. Nyangaga.

Already the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) says that global temperatures have risen by 1.5 degrees Celsius making the globe warmer and in effect will continue to affect the survival of many habitats.




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