By FRANCIS GABRIEL
THE effect of rising sea levels is now a big concern for the people of Madang, especially villages along the coastline of Siar and Bogia districts and neighbouring islands.
Villages along this coastline are fast losing their beachfronts as a result of the impact of the rising sea level, which is accompanied by huge destructive waves.
Tab Island Marine Wildlife Management Areas chairman and deputy coordinator of Madang Lagoon Locally-Managed Marine Areas (LMMA) network Tamlong Tabb said villages along the Siar seafront and neighbouring islands were now seeing the disastrous effect of global warming.
“Huge waves with extra-ordinary force are eroding stone walls that protect our beachfronts and palms, which act as windbreakers,” Mr Tabb said.
“And soon houses will be swept away and life lost if no preventive measures are taken as there is now nothing to stop the waves.
“The waves are nothing of any sort we’ve seen before,” he added.
The next continuous direct strong winds, which comes with huge destructive waves on these seafronts would see some houses having their post hanging lose, Mr Tabb said.
Facing similar fate are the people of Awar village in the Bogia district.
According to a concerned villager, the rising seas are eroding their burial grounds, leaving skeletal remains of dead people scattered everywhere.
“We are now reburying washed up remains on higher grounds,” the concerned villager told The National.
“Even though the remains of the dead are reburied, our sea, which we rely on for our everyday needs, is already polluted.”
Both concerned leaders are calling on the National Government and the Madang provincial government, through the provincial disaster and emergency services division, to carry out case studies and draw down funds to erect proper seawalls along the seafronts to prevent further erosion.
They urged the relevant bodies to fast track their concerns as time is running out.
Mr Tabb also stressed the need to build a seawall around Madang Lagoon as it is a marine protected area, “and as far as marine conservation and tourism is concerned, it should be preserved at all costs”.