Country: South Africa
Site: iSimingaliso Wetland Park
What is your personal relation to the marine WHS you represent?
I live in the rural area which is near the location of the marine World Heritage Site. I live closer to the St. Lucia marine reserve and St. Lucia marine Sanctuary. A lot of people in my neighbourhood earn a living or survive with the resources of this world heritage site. Elders use it for fishing and selling art work to tourists that to enjoy the wonders of nature. iSimangaliso also promotes cultural activities and sports some of my brothers have played in soccer tournaments conducted by this world heritage site and some have been involved in cultural dances. This world heritage site also reaches to learners from surrounding rural areas who obtain good marks for their matric but need funding for tertiary education and I am one of those learners. This World Heritage Site provides funds for my education in University, they also assist me with in service training in order to gain work based experience that I will use when I look for a job. Even before I received bursary funding from iSimangaliso Authority, visits by the school environmental club left us enchanted by the natural environment that we found in the Park.
What are the specific problems and threats of your marine WHS?
Human interference can either destroy or improve nature resources and one of the threats is human interference. As much as the site is open for people but human activities negatively affect the environment. One of the worst practices is illegal fishing people exploit marine resources especially fish. Secondly there are people who believe in collecting sea water and they take sand and water without noticing that they are destroying habitat for a lot of marine organisms. Another practice is pollution, some people pollute the marine environment without noticing that they are affecting life cycle of organism. Some people use the marine environment for recreational purposes such as diving, for example at Sodwana Bay, and this also affects the marine life such as coral reefs. Human activity is really a threat in this world heritage site. Another natural threat is climate changes which affects the survival of organism in water. The rise of temperatures due to global warming causes the imbalance in marine life which sometimes leads to death of organisms. Rising sea levels also have a huge effect on growth and survival of marine organisms. The World heritage site also faces a problem of marine organisms becoming endangered and extinct.
Why do you think is it important to safeguard your marine WHS?
The marine environment is important to life and it needs to be safe guarded. The marine World Heritage Site needs to be safe guarded because the marine environment plays a vital role in climate regulation. It redistributes heat around the world and therefore assists in having rain. It provides food such as fish for people. People only think that plants are the only organisms responsible for trapping carbondioxide but the marine also traps the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The marine environments also links the whole world, it is used for shipping. One most important reason is that in the marine environment there are also organisms that survive only there and if we don’t safe guard the marine environment they will die. They might not be directly connected to us (people) but they play a vital role in our lives since they are involved in various food chains. You might think that the organism is useless only to find that without it, we cannot have good fish that we eat. It is also nice to see beauty of nature and to safe guard will allow future generations to have pleasure of enjoying presence of those creatures.