A recent academic study published in the journal One Earth, reveals that there are environmental downsides to China’s coastal infrastructure and projects with Africa being the worst affected by these projects. The marine habitats in Caribbean Island nations also face high risk.
The environmental risks have emanated from 114 Chinese-funded coastal development projects over a period of ten years till 2019 according to the study conducted by researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara, Colorado State University, Boston University Global Development Policy Center and the University of Queensland, analysed
China has constructed numerous ports, bridges and other coastal projects throughout the developing world in recent years in what has been dubbed by Beijing the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road”, part of President Xi Jinping’s greater Belt and Road Initiative to build infrastructure, reported VOA News.
“‘The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road’ has enormous potential to propel economic prosperity … but there are growing concerns regarding the potentially deleterious impacts of this initiative on the environment and local and indigenous communities,” the study said, according to a report in VOA News.
The report also said that, in “Angola and Mozambique, more than 2,000 [square kilometres] of marine habitats face high impact risks,” the research found. However, just a few months ago, Chinese upgrades to a port in Angola were lauded by Chinese state media the Global Times, which said the project is designed to benefit the community in several ways including meeting “local demand for import and export of goods.”
According to researchers, port developments represent a great risk to marine systems, higher than bridges and power plants.
“Ports rank as the highest-risk sector for coastal construction, because of the many possible avenues for environmental and social impacts: beyond the noise, light, and habitat disruption from the construction itself, they also bring the potential for significant changes in local ecosystems through the introduction of invasive species who ‘hitchhike’ on incoming ships and the depletion of local fish stocks from new fishing fleets who may come to use the port,” Rebecca Ray, senior researcher in global development policy at Boston University, told VOA.
According to the study, ports such as the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Angola, Mauritania and Djibouti, all present in Africa, are prominent regional hotspots. These projects can negatively impact coastal communities, marine life and biodiversity.
In West Africa, the risk is even higher, reveals the study. Ivory Coast, for instance, faces a great risk to its seas. The region has the highest level of seafood consumption. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.