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Climate change bangladesh 02
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
30 Oct 2014

Waste chemicals and oil from factories are disposed of in the canals, polluting the river and the soil. Industrial processes are not only a factor in climate change, but also produce toxic waste that threatens Dhaka's natural resources.

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Climate change bangladesh 03
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By zakir hossain chowdhury
30 Oct 2014

A boy poses before a patch of cracked dry earth. Bangladesh has been particularly affected by climate change, where unpredictable heat waves and rainy seasons make life difficult for its people.

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Indonesia's Coast: Overpopulated and ...
Jakarta, Indonesia
By Elisabetta Zavoli
01 Feb 2014

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) report, released in October 2013, predicted global temperatures would rise 0.3 to 4.8 degrees Celsius this century. Seas will creep up by 26 to 82 centimeters by 2100. If no countermeasures are taken, "hundreds of millions" of coastal dwellers will be displaced by 2100. Small-island states and East, Southeast and South Asia will lose the most land. Among them, Jakarta is one of the cities in the world most vulnerable to flood losses because of growing population, climate change and subsidence.

The first thing that strikes you in Jakarta is the deadly traffic: motorbikes, cars, and rusted minibuses careen day and night through the streets of this messy megacity. Journeying across Jakarta means spending hours even for short distances in an unbreathable air. The second thing that strikes is the lack of a sewage system and wastewater treatment: along roadside, exposed or covered, ditches run in order to collect wastewater and sewage from homes, offices, commercial and industrial activities, which then pour into the waterways across the city. When wastewater reaches the coast it is black and polluted. A dreadful odor envelops Muara Angke’s slum, a community of poor fishermen families settled on the coastline, building their shacks on the waste from the processing of mussels.

Greater Jakarta is a delta city of more than 10 million people, crossed by 13 rivers and hundreds of canals. It is estimated that about 2 million people commute to downtown Jakarta from the suburbs every day. The metropolitan area of Jakarta is the second largest megacity in the world (after Tokyo-Yokohama area), home of an estimated population of more than 26 million, comprising the satellite cities of Tangerang, Depok, Bekasi and Bogor.

This year’s release of demographics of largest urban areas in the world (Demographia World Urban Area) shows that the population growth of Jakarta was 34,6% for the decade 2000-2010, ranking it in the top 10 world’s fastest-growing megacities.

Now, together with pollution and population growth, also climate change is a threat to Jakarta inhabitants. Coastline areas like Muara Angke, Pluit, Tanjung Priok are mainly covered by slums and regularly suffer of seasonal floods, monthly high tides, and rising of sea level. The shacks lack of any sort of protection against high water from the sea or floods from the maze of waterways that cut through the city. Jakarta was benefiting from a natural protection in the mangrove forests bordering the town, but these have gone lost. Mangroves have been reduced to a few narrow strips along the seaward, and are under continuous attack from pollutants and garbage. It is all about the missing mangrove forests, then.

Jakarta, West Java, and Banten mangrove forests occupied 44,453 hectares in 1996-1998, but were drastically reduced to 11,370 hectares in 2009. Today only 300 hectares of forest remains in Jakarta. Moreover, the north reservoirs, which should receive the water flooding from rivers and canals, are surrounded by slums as well. In fact, slums are replacing the role of mangroves as they are acting as a sort of urban, inhabited, and suffering buffer to the floods.

In Jakarta the sea is rising rapidly, but no displacement is occurring – could humans be a cheap way to mitigate sea level rise? Locals are getting used to have their shelters inundated. That is one of the prices that illegal immigrants have to pay when choosing to migrate from their village to Jakarta. This is the case, fore example of Maria, 30, and her husband, who migrated from a village in central Java four years ago. He is a minibus driver, and their baby was born just two weeks after the huge flood of January 2013. Their house is on the decaying banks of the Ciliwung river in the Rawajati subdistrict, and when the water rose, it was fully submersed by water and mud up to 4 meters.

“My pregnancy was at the end when I had to leave my house because it completely flooded. I may have returned only a few days after my baby was born. No one helped to clean or cared to know whether we were dead or if we needed any help”.

Maria’s story is not a one-off case. According to “Jakarta in Figure”, published in 2009, population living in poverty should count around 340,000. This is a conservative figure, though, as more than 20% of total settlements in Jakarta are in slum areas and there is a substantial percentage of illegally settled immigrants. The number of poor people might be far beyond that official number. These poor people usually work in informal sectors such as drivers, ojek (motorbike taxi), scavengers, navvies and so on.

Slum areas occupy chiefly river banks, like those on the Ciliwung. The shanties weaken the riverbanks and people live in very poor condition, with inadequate infrastructures, in unhealthy environment, and low accessibility to basic needs. They use the river water not only as sewage but as shower or for washing clothes. Ciliwung river is one of the city’s waterways most affected by floods: due to this illegal residential development, it has no overflow basins, and so flood enters directly inside the poor houses on its banks.

A typical modern and fast growing Asian city, Jakarta displays the contrasting bright glass-covered exclusive and luxury apartments, separated by no more than a crumbling wall from informal settlements. Elites and basic housing are there, side by side. Indonesia is the Southeast Asia’s largest economy with a growth of 6.5% (2011) and Jakarta is the biggest economic hub of the country, counting alone for the 7% of Indonesian GDP. Most of housing supply is targeted to rich people making the market of gated community and elite apartments increasing.

The exclusivity of this community is among the causes for the widening of the social segregation: giant towers and new luxury malls stand in the city amidst terrible poverty. Over the years, the policy makers of Jakarta have responded to increasing house demand by converting green areas and wetlands into residential, commercial, and industrial areas. In 1965, green areas still covered more than 35% of the total city area, but currently there is only 9.3% of green areas left. This happens despite in the regulated law provinces of Indonesia are required to have 30% green areas.

The more the town grows towards the sky, the more it sinks because of land subsidence. This chaotic and high density urban development is affecting also the uncontrolled use of ground water for household and industrial purposes, which is one major responsible of the subsidence of Jakarta, now displaying an impressive 10 cm per year rate of subsidence. As seawater underground intrusion grows in and around the capital, it is foreseen that in 10 to 15 years Jakarta will face groundwater scarcity.

Would all this not be enough to generate uncertainties around the fate of the town, today there is the climate threat. Currently, the Jakarta Capital City Government doesn’t have a policy specifically tailored to climate change, however they do have policies on disaster mitigation. Thus, after the disastrous flood of January 2013, which was caused losses of more than 4.3 trillion Indonesian Rupees, displacement of more than 100,000 people, and the death of 26, the Government has begun to clean illegal settlements on riverbanks and around the north reservoirs, moving people to new popular housing.

This is far from bringing a solution to the challenges that the megacity is facing. As stated in an article on Nature Magazine: “failing to adapt is not a viable option in coastal cities. The estimated adaptation costs are far below the estimate of aggregate damage losses per year, in the absence of adaptation”. The warn is there, how Indonesians will cope with the many challenges their capital is facing, is still an open question.

Not so different is the situation of other settlements on Java northern coast. Semarang, in central Java, is one of the biggest ports on the main Indonesia’s island. Here, the high tide’s ingression was already well known by the Dutch, who have been built a system of polders to protect the city. Yet, today that system is inadequate and the ROB, as it is called in the local language, has reached critical dimensions: started in 1995, the measurements reported flood only in the port area up to 500 meters from the coastline. Today, the high tide enters up to 5 km from the coastline, also flooding the old Dutch center. With a proven subsidence of 6 to 7 cm per year to "strengthen" the effect of rising sea level, entire neighborhoods are doomed to sink completely in the next 15 to 20 years.

Here, “adaptation” to climate change is taking an unpredicted path: the tidal flood is so fast (in three hours the water rises from the bottom up to 30 to 40 cm, in some areas daily in other areas two or three times per week) that in the last 30 years those who could lifted up the house. The poorest were just able to fill the flooded floor with rocks and sand – in short, burying their own house.

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Kenyan Grandmothers' Survival (31 of 34)
Nairobi, Kenya
By Karel Prinsloo
10 May 2013

Seventy year old Wairimu Gachenga looks on as her granddaughter Wairimu Njeri (7) prepares for school, 10 May 2013 in the Nairobi slum of Korogocho, Kenya. Once a week a group of grandmothers from the area get together to practice self defense techniques after one of them was raped in 2007. Rape of elderly woman has increased in Kenya as people believe that grandmothers have a lower risk of HIV compared to younger women. KAREL PRINSLOO.

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Esplin120711_2385.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
11 Jul 2012

The rate of ocean acidification is expected to accelerate in the near future. Since the industrial revolution, ocean acidification has increased by 30%. Scientists believe that this rate is faster than anything previously experienced over the last 55 million years.

The problem is that even a mild change in PH levels has significant impact on animals with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons. They literally dissolve. Affected animals include krill and plankton as well as coral. This means that the bottom of the food web could potentially become extinct, and in turn so could fish, according to Zoologist Kent Carpenter: "If corals themselves are at risk of extinction and do in fact go extinct, that will most probably lead to a cascade effect where we will lose thousands and thousands of other species that depend on coral reefs.”

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By Mark_Esplin
10 Jul 2012

A fisherman wades through the shallows carrying a handful of possessions after a mornings fishing trip.

Attempts to educate fishermen have been made by the environmental community, and attitudes are slowly changing. The Coral Triangle Initiative announced that it saw a decrease in the use of destructive fishing methods in 2012. Although, they stated that other threats such as Population increase, pollution and sedimentation have increased considerably.

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By Mark_Esplin
10 Jul 2012

A fisherman on Palawan Island in the Philippines prepares for a fishing voyage out to sea.

Scientists have predicted that by 2100, global temperature rise could result in the extinction of coral in the Coral Triangle. This would lead to an 80% reduction in regional food production.

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By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

Fishers tend to target bigger fish, which act as predators in the food web. Biologists have observed a change in the Philippines' species composition, and an increase of fishing for small oceanic fish – anchovies, etc. This is a good indication of overfishing, and of gradual stock collapse, as fishers can no longer catch larger fish to support themselves.

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By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

The Philippines Government admits that all targeted species in the Philippines are showing signs of overfishing. Officials also recognise that the current approach to fishing is unsustainable. “Overall, the harvest rate of Philippine fisheries is approximately 30 percent higher than the maximum sustainable yield, which will likely trigger stock collapses in the absence of increased management.” (Department of Environment and Natural Resources)

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By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

The majority of people within the Coral Triangle are living in poverty. This increases the social and economic importance of reefs, and reduces their ability to adapt to depleting fish supplies.

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Esplin120709_2382.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

The threats to the Coral Triangle are numerous, and often vary from site to site. As such there is not a single answer to the problems faced by these ecosystems. Nevertheless, wide ranges of solutions are being adopted in an attempt to curb this degradation. These include: Marine Protected areas (MPA), gear restrictions, and catch regulations.

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Esplin120709_2353.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

A decline in reef biodiversity does not only affect local communities and subsistence fishermen’s food security, though they are likely the hardest hit. According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), natural capital contributes significantly to manufacturing and service economies, that in-turn helps stabilise a nations food security. In their report ‘TEEB – The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for National and International Policy Makers’ the UNEP suggest one systemic cause for a lack of local will power to preserve natural resources. “Benefits depend on local stewardship, local knowledge and, in some cases, foregoing opportunities for economic development – yet people on the ground often receive little or no payment for the services they help to generate. This can make it more economically attractive to exploit the resource rather than preserve assets of global worth.”

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Esplin120709_2386.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

Government figures state that 67% of animal protein in the Philippines is comprised of fish and fish products. This makes fish the nations most important food source, next to rice.

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Esplin120709_2351.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

A fisherman prepares his line in a small wooden shack as his daughter plays behind. Surrounded by sublime tropical waters, the 7,000+ island shorelines of the Philippines are home to 40 million people - 45% of its population.

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Esplin120709_2350.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

Hook and line fishing techniques are seen as a solution compared to large scale commercial methods like trawler nets, that are considered dramatically unsustainable. Commercial fishing is having a drastic impact on fish stocks around the globe. Populations of targeted species such as Bluefin Tuna and Cod have reduced 90% since the 1960s, according to professors at the University of British Columbia.

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Esplin120709_2349.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

Hook and line fishing techniques are seen as a solution compared to large scale commercial methods like trawler nets, that are considered dramatically unsustainable. Commercial fishing is having a drastic impact on fish stocks around the globe. Populations of targeted species such as Bluefin Tuna and Cod have reduced 90% since the 1960s, according to professors at the University of British Columbia.

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Esplin120709_2347.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

It is not only coral reefs that are affected by global warming. Other important environments, such as mangrove forests and sea grass beds, which provide habitats for hundreds of thousands of fish species and other organisms, are also threatened. Further destruction and loss to these domains will have profound effects on the productivity of costal regions and the lives of people reliant on them.

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Esplin120707_2383.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
07 Jul 2012

According to the WWF, “The decreased productivity of coastal ecosystems will reduce the food resources and income available to coastal communities in the Coral Triangle. By 2050, coastal ecosystems will only be able to provide 50% of the fish protein that they do today, leading to increasing pressure on coastal agriculture and aquaculture.”

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Esplin120705_2345.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
05 Jul 2012

The coral triangle is located in South East Asia and supports 120 million people, across 6 countries, over an area of 1.6 billion acres. Overfishing, pollution, overpopulation and climate change are putting this essential ecosystem in danger.

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Esplin120705_2344.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
05 Jul 2012

The coral triangle is located in South East Asia and supports 120 million people, across 6 countries, over an area of 1.6 billion acres. Overfishing, pollution, overpopulation and climate change are putting this essential ecosystem in danger.

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Esplin120705_2343.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
05 Jul 2012

Tourist diving boats float above a reef in the North-East Philippines. Such tours can have a devastating impact on the health of reefs as participants inevitably kick or displace coral formations. The excess pollution caused by nearby hotels and resorts are an often unseen yet leading factor to the decline of a reefs health.

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Esplin120705_2380.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
05 Jul 2012

The coral triangle is located in South East Asia and supports 120 million people, across 6 countries, over an area of 1.6 billion acres. Overfishing, pollution, overpopulation and climate change are putting this essential ecosystem in danger.

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Esplin120705_2388.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
05 Jul 2012

The coral triangle is located in South East Asia and supports 120 million people, across 6 countries, over an area of 1.6 billion acres. Overfishing, pollution, overpopulation and climate change are putting this essential ecosystem in danger.

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By Mark_Esplin
04 Jul 2012

Government statistics suggest that in one year 1,370 tons of coral trout alone were exported, creating revenues of US$140 million. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) disputes this figure; suggesting high incidences of illegal and unreported trafficking, significantly expand the official records. They go on to state relaxed trade agreements are one of the leading factors creating additional demand on the Philippines reefs resources.

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Esplin120704_2338.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
04 Jul 2012

Government statistics suggest that in one year 1,370 tons of coral trout alone were exported, creating revenues of US$140 million. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) disputes this figure; suggesting high incidences of illegal and unreported trafficking, significantly expand the official records. They go on to state relaxed trade agreements are one of the leading factors creating additional demand on the Philippines reefs resources.

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Esplin120704_2337.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
04 Jul 2012

According to the Coral Triangle initiative, “The impacts of overfishing and to some extent destructive fishing practices on coral reefs are evident in the biomass of reef associated fish." It is reported that more than 50% of the reef sites in the Philippines assessed are overfished.

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Esplin120623_2381.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
23 Jun 2012

A fisherman farms abalone instead of heading out to sea to fish. Communities throughout the Philippines are being encouraged to seek alternative sources of income from fishing. According to the WWF, “The decreased productivity of coastal ecosystems will reduce the food resources and income available to coastal communities in the Coral Triangle. By 2050, coastal ecosystems will only be able to provide 50% of the fish protein that they do today, leading to increasing pressure on coastal agriculture and aquaculture.”

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Esplin120622_2389.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
22 Jun 2012

The cultivation of kelp and seaweed for pharmaceutical industries is being developed by some communities as an alternative source of income to prevent an over reliance of fishing for an income, thereby reducing the stress on local fish populations.

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Esplin120620_2327.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
20 Jun 2012

Children play in a harbour in the Southern Philippines. Scientists have predicted that by 2100, global temperature rise could result in the extinction of coral in the Coral Triangle. This would lead to an 80% reduction in regional food production.

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Esplin120619_2387.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
19 Jun 2012

A child helps sort the catch on a small fishing vessel in the Southern Philippines. With nine percent of the total global reef cover, its national waters provide significant annual fish yield. Increasingly, fish catch are being sold for export, with China and Hong Kong the primary destination.
There is a billion-dollar enterprise in the Asia-Pacific region for live reef food fish trade (LRRFFT). The Philippines is a significant contributor to this industry.

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Esplin120618_2379.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
18 Jun 2012

A Filipino fisherman wears a mask to protect against the sun as he spends the morning catching octopus from a small canoe. Though largely seen as being sustainable, subsistence fishermen with a hook and line can still have an impact on their local ecology. Jared Diamond, an ecological anthropologist, claims the common belief that indigenous people conserve their resources is wrong. He writes that historically when people encounter the limits of their resources, catastrophe results.

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Galicia's Goose Barnacle Hunters
Laxe
By Ruom
20 Dec 2011

December 20, 2011
Laxe (La Corua) Spain

Julio is ready to go back home with his daily catch. Due to the sea tides, sometimes thepercebeirosneed to harvest under artificial light.

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Galicia's Goose Barnacle Hunters
Laxe
By Ruom
20 Dec 2011

December 20, 2011
Laxe (La Corua) Spain

Julio checks his daily catch. Due to the sea tides, sometimes thepercebeirosneed to harvest under artificial light.

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Galicia's Goose Barnacle Hunters
Laxe
By Ruom
20 Dec 2011

December 12, 2011
Laxe (La Corua) Spain

A percebeiro gets hit by an unexpected wave.

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Galicia's Goose Barnacle Hunters
Laxe
By Ruom
20 Dec 2011

December 20, 2011
Laxe (La Corua) Spain

A percebeiro inspects a rock to find percebes.

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Galicia's Goose Barnacle Hunters
Laxe
By Ruom
20 Dec 2011

December 20, 2011
Laxe (La Corua) Spain

A group of percebeiros gets hit by an unexpected wave. Even when the weather is good, the sea is extremely dangerous on this part of the coast.

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Galicia's Goose Barnacle Hunters
Laxe
By Ruom
19 Dec 2011

December 1, 2011
Laxe (La Corua) Spain

A percebeiro cleans a perfect sample of percebe.

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Galicia's Goose Barnacle Hunters
Laxe
By Ruom
19 Dec 2011

December 1, 2011
Laxe (La Corua) Spain

Percebes grow in the gaps between rocks and sometimes the only way to harvest them is by hand.

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Galicia's Goose Barnacle Hunters
Laxe
By Ruom
19 Dec 2011

December 19, 2011
Laxe (La Corua) Spain

Percebeiros try to harvest together so that they are not alone if an accident happens. Even when the weather is good, the sea is extremely dangerous on this part of the coast.

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Galicia's Goose Barnacle Hunters
Laxe
By Ruom
19 Dec 2011

December 19, 2011
Laxe (La Corua) Spain

Julio cleans a perfect sample of a percebe.