The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Micronesia:
- Water Quality
Water quality and resultant health concerns have also been a major issue in Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). In April 2000, an outbreak of cholera on Pohnpei, affecting approximately 3,500 persons and causing 20 deaths, was the result of poor waste water control. In most parts of FSM, the underground water sources have potentially high iron content.
The FSM IWRM council requires more incentive to integrate on water resource management and its components. Since the small island countries are slowly developing, a concrete or solid legislation requires effective efforts to initiate the protection of the underground and surface water areas.
- Environmental Problems
Solid waste disposal in urban areas is a continuing problem and the land is threatened by toxic pollutants from mining operations. Micronesia’s water supply is also threatened by industrial and agricultural pollutants. Population increases in urban areas, untreated sewage, and contaminants from industrialized countries in the region add to the problem of water pollution.
United Nations research shows that global warming and the rise of sea levels are a threat to Micronesia’s forests, agricultural areas, and fresh-water supply. Pollution from industrial and agricultural sources also threatens the nation’s mangrove areas. The fish population is endangered by water borne toxins and explosives used in commercial fishing. The country also has a problem with the degeneration of its reefs due to tourism.
- Problems faced by Children
The Federated States of Micronesia, an island nation in the western Pacific Ocean comprising over 600 islands, faces many social challenges. With its population scattered over many small islands, which are themselves spread over an area of approximately 1,600,000 km₂, it is difficult for the Micronesian state to provide effective health and educational systems. Children are the first to suffer, and despite the efforts of authorities, children’s rights are often blatantly violated. While school attendance is compulsory from the age of 6, due to a severe shortage of qualified teachers, not all children have the chance to receive an education. By law, children are permitted to leave school either at 14 or after they have completed the 8th grade.
There is no law in the Federated States of Micronesia which prohibits child labour. There is therefore no minimum working age, and a significant number of children have jobs.
- Human Rights Protection
The Federated States of Micronesia is yet to become a signatory to a number of important international conventions for the promotion and protection of human rights, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Micronesia is also yet to ratify a number of important human rights conventions, including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Micronesia has also not yet ratified the Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.