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Global warming creeps up on Kiribati

Published: 9:48PM Saturday March 05, 2011 Source: ONE News

Teenagers in the central pacific are badly affected by global warming, according to a new UNICEF report.

UNICEF has looked at the state of the world's children with a special focus on the low-lying Kiribati atolls.

All but one of the 33 islands are completely flat so high spring tides and storms have a frightening effect, and rising sea levels have started to contaminate wells with salt water.

President Anote Tong said he believes his country could be uninhabitable in 30 to 40 years.

"As a leader, I do hope that the world community will listen to what we are saying because we are talking about young people. We are talking about real human beings whose lives are at stake, and whose futures are at stake," Tong said.

Tong said small measures, like planting along disintegrating coast, helps Kiribati combat global warming.

As well as practical prevention measures, youth groups have been holding workshops around the islands.

Iaoniman Kambati is helping with workshops and said people on the atoll need information to understand what is happening to their home.

He said young people are always looking to the future and for ways to protect their home from effects of global warming.

"As young people who will be leaders tomorrow, you know we are not just sitting around doing nothing. We are trying to do something about his issue," Kambati said.

New Zealand is giving $16.5 million to help Kiribati combat global warming.