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Climate Change


Snow slowly building on Mount Kilimanjaro

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By Apolinari Tairo, eTN | Mar 16, 2011
Snow slowly building on Mount Kilimanjaro
Image via abbeyfield.com

TANZANIA, Africa (eTN) - Standing as the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is slowly regaining its snow after several years of drought in East Africa and the effects of climate change in African continent.

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The snow is slowly mounting on the top point of the mountain, giving new hopes to Mount Kilimanjaro environmental watchdogs and tourists that the mountain may not lose its beautiful ice cap as scientists predicted.

Covered in mist most of the day, Mount Kilimanjaro is the most tourist attractive site in Tanzania, pulling in tens of thousands of tourists each year. The snow, which once disappeared in some parts of the mountain is mounting slowly, giving a beautiful view of the Kibo peak.

A visit by our Tanzania eTurboNews reporter to Mount Kilimanjaro's slopes proved that there were changes on the mountain snow, which has been covering some parts of the mountain where once the ice had melted.

Sources from the mountain environmental watchdog groups said the snow could mount to cover most areas of the mountain, but the effects of climate change and global warming could still affect the mountain’s snow layers which are becoming thinner and thinner.

Standing freely and majestically with its snow gleaming in the sun, Mount Kilimanjaro is in great danger of losing its eye-catching glaciers. The mountain is located some 330 kilometers and three degrees (3 degrees) south of the equator.

Mount Kilimanjaro is an awesome and magnificent peak in Africa and one of the leading single free-standing mountains in the world. It is composed of three independent peaks - Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira - covering a total area of 4,000 kilometers.

The snow-capped Kibo with permanent glaciers covering its entire peak is the highest at 5,895 meters high and is the most attractive site, pulling in over 40,000 foreign and local tourists per year.

Environmentalists warn that this highest peak in Africa could lose its ice cover and glaciers between 2018 and 2020 unless global campaigns to save the mountain’s ecology are taken.

Mount Kilimanjaro was formed some 750,000 years ago and the present features were completely formed in the past 500,000 years after a number of upheavals and tremors, which also caused the formation of 250 volcanic hills and crater lakes including magnificent Lake Chala on its southern slopes.

The mountain is the leading tourist attraction in Tanzania due to its beautiful features and its geological setup. Global warming effects are being felt in most parts of Africa with great impacts on tourist sites including Tanzanian wildlife parks and Mount Kilimanjaro's ecosystem.

The forthcoming Fifth International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) African Conference in Lusaka, Zambia, in May this year will discuss the impacts of climate change on African tourism and challenges ahead to rectify the situation.

With a theme, “Meeting the Challenges of Climate Change to Tourism in Africa and the Developing World,” the 5th IIPT African Conference will bring together leading experts in tourism and climate change and presentations of models of best practice from diverse sectors of the tourist industry from more than 40 different countries.

Topics to be covered by the experts include management of greenhouse emissions; conservation practices; regional planning and infrastructure requirements; sustainable accommodations; coastal tourism strategies; water quality and quantity; forests and wildlife; the central role of national parks and protected areas; preserving bio-diversity; the human dimensions of climate change; promotion of public awareness; and disaster response, among other burning issues.



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