Kenya’s coast is losing huge amounts of seagrass: UNEP

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News: The UN environmental programme has released a report warning that fishing trawlers, seaweed farming and tourism off the coast of Kenya is threatening the survival of seagrasses.

Facts:

  • Seagrass: These are flowering marine plants that have adapted to survive in marine conditions. 
  • Where are they found? They are mostly found in shallow sandy bottom habitats and can form dense extensive meadows.There are about 72 seagrass species distributed across the world’s temperate and tropical oceans.
  • Significance:
    • They are known as the “lungs of the sea” because one square meter of seagrass can generate 10 liters of oxygen every day through photosynthesis.
    • Seagrasses can trap sediments to absorb nutrients and give us clear waters.
    • They are a source of food, shelter and nursery areas for many organisms, including commercially important fish.
    • They are also important carbon sinks capable of trapping carbon from the atmosphere 40 times faster than tropical rainforests and storing it for hundreds of years.
  • Threats to Seagrasses: a) Climate change b) Global warming c) Erosion and Sediment discharge d) Overfishing e) Pollution among others.