The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Tuvalu:
- Climate Change
Global warming is especially dangerous in Tuvalu since the average height of the islands is less than 2 metres (6.6 ft) above sea level, with the highest point of Niulakita being about 4.6 metres (15 ft) above sea level. The sea level at the Funafuti tide gauge has risen at 3.9 mm per year, which is approximately twice the global average. Tuvalu could be one of the first nations to experience the effects of sea levels raised. Not only could parts of the island be flooded but the rising saltwater table could also destroy deep rooted food crops such as coconut, pulaka, and taro. Research from the University of Auckland suggests that Tuvalu may remain habitable over the next century, but as of March 2018 Enele Sopoaga, the prime minister of Tuvalu, stated that Tuvalu is not expanding and has gained no additional habitable land.
- Waste Problem
One of the striking aspects of Tuvalu, and especially the main island of Funafuti, is the rubbish, which is strewn along the beaches and roadsides. On such a low-lying sliver of an island, there is no way it can be buried in landfills. Unsorted plastic, metal and other waste pours into the tip at the northern end of the island – a spit less than 100m wide.
The plastic problem is a big issue in Tuvalu. Plastics are consumed by all living things in the ocean and that affects the food chain, causing many fish and turtles to have died due to plastic consumption.
Since Tuvalu doesn’t have a well-operated landfill, the plastics from the dump site sometimes blows out into the ocean. Additionally, at the dump site there is a lack of equipment, a lack of land and a lack of topsoil to cover the waste, further worsening the problem.