PROTECTION of the environment must be foremost in our minds as we watch the gradual demise of smaller island states like Tuvalu and Kiribati. These Pacific island states have started to succumb to global warming and could disappear this century if sea levels creep slowly but surely higher each year.
In Papua New Guinea, sea water has started to seep through the ground on some of the lower, outlying islands, destroying forever areas of rich farm land and depriving islanders of food sources. Erosion of the shoreline is obvious on many of our islands.
The smaller the island, the more obvious are the ravages of the sea. On Vanuabalavu, villagers can show how the sea has crept closer to Saqani Settlement in the last 10 years. Coconut trees which once stood on dry land now have a home in the sea.
At Togoru, Navua, the McGoon family graves were part of the vast expanse of an estate which ranged over acres of grassland. But the sea has shown no respect for the dead, encroaching upon the estate until those who once rested in the cemetery must now lie in the waves. Scientists claim that the steady advance of the sea is due in no small part to melting ice in the polar regions.
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