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Why is Africa facing Environmental Challenges

Water is essential to the balance of the environment.

As a liquid, it contributes to the formation of landforms and the emergence of life (plants, animals, and humans), and is vital to its maintenance. As a gas, water forms a barrier in the atmosphere, protecting the biosphere from solar ultraviolet radiation. Unfortunately, in Africa, due to the lack of sustainable and integrated management, this resource is unevenly distributed and degraded. The continued lack of water caused by climate change has exacerbated this situation. The environment is full of different water resources. Surface water includes all flowing or stagnant water bodies that are in direct contact with the atmosphere. This includes rivers and lakes.

According to statistics released by the African Water Association (AfWA) in 2019, three lakes in Africa account for 30% of the world’s freshwater reserves. The area of ​​Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania is 32,900 square kilometers;

Lake Victoria is located at the intersection of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, covering an area of ​​68,100 square kilometers; and Lake Malawi, which covers an area of ​​29,500 square kilometers. Its coast is shared by Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. These water reserves are a haven for local flora and fauna, which eventually evaporate or flow into groundwater, thereby replenishing the groundwater table. Unlike surface water, groundwater is invisible to the naked eye. A large part of these freshwater reserves are located at depths of more than 50 meters, especially in the Sahara. They are stored in natural reservoirs called aquifers. According to AfWA, the African continent has 660,000 square kilometers of groundwater, which is a precious drinking water supply for humans.

According to the United Nations (UN), only 4% of Africa’s water resources are exploited, and the annual loss of sanitation infrastructure is estimated to be about 28.4 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for nearly 5% of the continent’s gross dshomestic product (GDP).

Finally, there is the sea and the ocean. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), they cover more than 70% of the earth’s surface. The ocean provides food, regulates the climate, and produces most of the oxygen we breathe. These vast waters are also the foundation of most economies in the world, supporting industries ranging from tourism to fishing to international shipping. Although the environment provides a lot of water, it is also under pressure from humans and climatic factors: waste and sewage pollution, extreme droughts, floods and floods, deforestation, and wetland destruction.



with information from: https://www.afrik21.africa/en/africa-water-at-the-heart-of-the-continents-environmental-challenges/

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