Friday, July 12, 2013

Arabian Shisha Addiction; the hidden Scythe for Deforestations in Somalia

Kismanyo, a small city with a very small population strategically rests on the peninsula of the Indian Ocean coast in the lower juba state in Southern Somalia. Kismanyo corridor, which was built in the early 1960s for Somali-navies, today acts as a key business causeway between Somalia, the gulf and the east African countries.  After the collapse of the central government of Somalia, this resourceful town had unfortunately fallen into the hands of various malicious headed by some of the most notorious warlords before the up to date Kenyan backed forces who took the control from Islamist sect “Alshabab”.  This town had since became one of the worst gateways for Somali natural resources outflow, where much of the intangible wealth had been shipped away, like mammalian-livestock and the living trees. 

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The climate deteriorations have touched the world at large, but the western countries in particular. Kyoto Protocol was therefore held in Japan on 11 December 1997 and came into force on February 2005, where several unanimously agreed pre-emptive measures were made. Many prominent countries worldwide were the official signatories of this environmental pact, as it has invited a contentious ecological, economic and political argument among the world’s industrialized countries whose major concern was seeking a mutual policy on cutting the green-house-emissions in an attempt to promote a healthy green environment for better living conditions.
According to the National geography forests only cover 30 percent of the world’s land area, but widths of the swath in miles are lost in every single day by the hands of modern sinister business mongers. The world’s rain forests could completely vanish during this century at the current rate of deforestation proportionately.
 Prior to the colonial land border demarcations, Somali people who are one of the largest ethnic societies that occupies much of the lands in the eastern part of the African continent were livestock herders, artisans and agro-pastoral societies as well. Even more than half of the current Somali population in today’s contemporary world belongs to the same conventional life-style, enjoying with the nature in their terrestrial strata. Remember, the recent famine in some parts of the south-Somalia that terribly invited international media attentions was due to the pro-longed draughts, the underlying cause of which was attributed to the meager rainfalls and loss of the rainy forests by the hands of the mindless loggers. The said draughts have also driven many people from their territorial lands to a shanty refugee camps temporarily built in Mogadishu suburbs, still severing and exposed to an endless abuses.

USA on Somali charcoal imports:
A UN resolution on the ban of commercializing the territorial animals and trees was adopted in the year 1975 by its members__ provided there should be a legal license formally issued by a legitimate government.  Furthermore, two decrees numbered 20 and 27 issued by the last government of Somalia in the years 1967 and 1969 respectively__ were due to nix all exportations of mammalian animals and the charcoal. As there was no a functioning Somali central government for the past two decades the above said pact and decrees had dramatically disappeared, lawlessness and chaos taken the lead.  Today’s international outcry on Somali charcoal exports was prompted not by global concerns over the environmental abuses but apprehensions on Al-shabab’s financial sources.
 President Obama of the US has ordered the abrogation of the US imports of the Somali charcoal during his first tuner, not because of the appalling ecological situations there in Somalia but, his concerns over the Al-shabab’s significant revenues generated from this illegal source. It’s really disappointing that Obama only reiterated on the financial gains for Al-shabab but not on the environmental abuses caused by this cynical type of business.

 According to the UN report on July 2011__ the tax revenue that al shabaab used to levy on charcoal exportations was about 15 million US dollars a year. This is why Al-shabab’s presence in many parts of southern Somalia was in existence, yet gained firm grounds for exercising their power.  Though Al-shabaab seems to be losing their last standing leg today, yet this type of business remains unchanged.

Where charcoal exports end up:
The relentless demand from the world in general and that of the Arabian countries in particular is what keeps this product’s market bullish. This lucrative business was said to had been involved in hundreds of thousands metric tons of charcoal exports per year, the revenues of which is narrowed into the best interest of small groups of business predatory.  In the gulf, the charcoal consumption for households cooking is relatively less than that for shisha/hookah smoking.  The number of Shisha outlets mushrooming in the Arabian Peninsula is well reflecting on the growth rate of the charcoal demand levels on daily basis. This smoking habit was originally generated from Egypt but later on exported to the Middle East and many other countries across the globe. The global fight against tobacco is less effective due to the fact that it’s facing a fierce resistance from such addictions.

Somali charcoal exports lifecycle:

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As we are in bound with the time, as we are unsure about what tomorrow holds for the entire nation, if the current rate of deforestation keeps unchanged in Somalia, for how long it could take Somali forests to completely vanish?

By: Khadar Hanan
Doha, Qatar.

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