Environmental ministers met on 6 July 2004 in Antananarivo, Madagascar, for the Fourth Conference of the Parties to the Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Eastern African Region and agreed on a new project aimed to reduce pollution in the Western Indian Ocean. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the three-year $1 l-million project, funded by the Global Environment Facility and the Government of Norway, will improve the safe disposal of wastes, develop wetlands to naturally filter and detoxify sewage, and enhance recycling systems.
Mangrove forests, coral reefs and seagrass beds flourish in the Western Indian Ocean on the East African Coast. Over 30 million people in the five mainland countries of Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania, and on the islands of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles depend on the Ocean's marine and coastal resources for their food, livelihood and recreation. These environments are vital because they are home to over 11,000 species of plants and animals, including over a fifth of the world's inshore tropical fish, and they provide a nesting ground for approximately 70 per cent of the world's marine turtles.
Land and air pollution, as well as destructive natural forces, have damaging effects on the Western Indian Ocean, which has long been suffering from the discharges of untreated sewage, unplanned urbanization...