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Sea level rise is the main issue which Kiribati faces nowadays. Sea level rise can be defined as an increase in the level of the surface of the ocean relative to the land. Sea level rise is also known as the main effect of climate change affecting our nation and its people; it is caused by global warming. It has certain impacts on the people and the environment. Such commonly known impacts are coastal erosion and the destruction of crops as well as brackish well-water. Therefore, discussions in this essay will mainly focus on the causes of sea level rise and the two commonly known negative impacts of it.
To begin with, sea level rise is mainly caused by global warming. An increase in the atmospheric average temperature due to the buildup of certain gases in the atmosphere is mainly caused by the burning fossil fuels. As the atmosphere warms, the surface layer of the ocean warms as well, expanding in volume and thus raising sea level. For example, when factories burn fossil fuels, the gases will go to the atmosphere where they will be build up; this causes the atmosphere to get warmer, melting the ices in the Southern poles leading to sea level rise. Therefore an increase in the atmospheric temperature also known as global warming is the main cause of sea level rise.
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Secondly, sea level rise causes coastal erosion. Coastal erosion is caused by the activities of waves and currents due to the increasing level of sea water. As seen nowadays, coastal erosion causes damages to the homes of people living along the coastlines and as well as the destruction of seawalls. For example, as seen in Temwaiku, there are many homes which have been damaged due to coastal erosion. Not just that but also, the Dai Nippon causeway between Bairiki and Betio is damaged as the sand beneath it is being eroded due to the rising sea water level. Therefore, coastal erosion is the main environmental negative impact of sea level rise.
Lastly, sea level rise also causes destruction of crops and brackish well-water. The rising sea water level affects the soil concentration thus causes crops to die and well water to become brackish; hence people will find it difficult to find food and water for satisfying their daily needs. For instance, most breadfruits trees have died due to the increasing level of sea water which reaches the land causing crops to die and well-water to become brackish. Therefore, sea level rise affects people’s need for food and water.
In conclusion, sea level rise is mainly caused by global warming; it has many effects on people and the environment such as, it causes coastal erosion as well as the destruction of crops and brackish well-water. Therefore, I encourage countries polluting the atmosphere to reduce the burning of fossil fuels as we, I-Kiribati are now facing the consequences of their activities of burning fossil fuels.