Our mangrove forests are quickly disappearing. New hotels can now be found in regions that were once covered with mangroves and home to a rich diversity of marine species. While developments in the tourism sector can be a boost to our economy, we cannot ignore the fact that mangrove deforestation poses a major threat to coastal communities and our future generations. Many of us may be unaware of the numerous benefits of the mangrove plant or we choose to ignore its economic and ecological importance for the sole reason that they do not directly affect us. But have we ever thought about the damage being done to our marine ecosystems as large areas of mangrove forests are being cleared? Will we be able to reverse these processes to prevent beach erosion and bring back the beauty of our ecosystems?
We cannot sit and wait for others to take actions to address this issue; we need to stand up and make things happen. And this is what we do at ELI Africa! Thinking and acting differently are part of our jobs as ELI volunteers. Despite the rain and the mud, the ELI team was at Bambous Virieux for our annual mangrove planting event on the 16th of May. It was not an easy task and the unfavourable weather conditions made it worse. However, with the help of officers from the Ministry of Fisheries and the dedication of our young volunteers to accomplish ELI Africa’s objective to preserve our natural ecosystems, we successfully collected and planted 500 mangrove propagules within four hours in the region.
A big thanks goes to our volunteers for making this event a success and to Vedant for driving the change! These small steps are what make our mangrove reforestation programs a success. In five years, this coastal community will have a fully functional mangrove forest. The mangroves will help enhance our reefs by serving as a nursery area for vulnerable creatures and trap shifting sediments where land and water meet, reducing coastal erosion. Known as storm buffers, they protect the coastal communities from strong waves and winds, minimizing loss of lives and damage to property.
Now that we know the importance of our mangrove forests, we can all be involved in the mangrove reforestation programs on an individual basis. Each and every one of us can plant at least one mangrove propagule within existing mangrove forests. The little things will help make a huge difference in the future. Your simple action can help make a change and make the world a better place.
Be part of the team to protect our mangroves. And together, let’s save our island!