Seagrass, found in over 158 countries, plays a crucial role in fighting against climate change, ensuring food security, the protection of our coastlines, enriching biodiversity, controlling disease and filtering water. Seagrass meadows cover only 0.1% of the ocean floor, however they store around 18% of oceanic carbon, working as a natural solution to climate change.
However both climate change and human activities such as dredging and unregulated fishing, is contributing to their rapid decline. Thankfully, there are several seagrass restoration projects which are fighting back all across the globe.
- The UNEP is supporting several seagrass projects, including the Mikoko Pamoja project in Gazi Bay, Kenya. The project also includes mangrove restoration and is designed to fight climate change, conserve biodiversity and improve livelihoods in the community.
- The project has been partially funded through the selling of carbon credits and shows how collaboration between local, national and international organisations can lead to successful ecosystem restoration.
- So far, Mikoko Pamoja has provided clean water, through the digging of wells, for 3 500 people and 700 children have received education materials. On top of this local schools have been repaired and improved.
- Project Seagrass in the UK plans to restore over small experimental two hector acre, the rough equivalent of two rugby pitches.
Leticia Carvalho, Head of the UNEP Freshwater and Marine Branch, says, “We have to be aware of the impact these activities have on our coastal ecosystems. We need to ensure we prevent, halt and reverse damage to seagrass meadows wherever possible.”