Central Rift Valley Facing Ecological Crisis: Environment and Climate Change Commissioner

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Addis Ababa, September 3/2020(ENA) The ecosystem and biodiversity of the Ethiopian Central Rift Valley (CRV) is under enormous pressure due to man-made and natural factors, according to Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission.

A national workshop under the theme “Environmental crises in Central Rift Valley Ecosystems: Opportunities and Practical Challenges” was held here today.

EFCC Commissioner, Fekadu Beyene said on the occasion that the alarming population growth, unplanned urbanization, agricultural expansion, climate change impacts and other developments in the Central Rift Valley are among the major driving factors towards the ecological crisis.

The government has been doing commendable works by issuing laws, programs and strategies, he added.

However, man-made and natural factors are posing biodiversity and ecosystem crises in the Central Rift Valley of about 10,000kms square area surrounded by Arsi, Gurage and Hadya highlands, with declining forest coverage causing flooding, erosion and sedimentation, studies indicated.

The major threats to lakes like Langano, Ziway, Abiyata and Shalla in the valley are over population, overgrazing, industrialization and urbanization, deforestation, siltation, agricultural expansion, investment, pollution, climate change, and land use. 

Biological Society President, Bikila Workneh told ENA that the resource rich and highly populated Central Rift Valley that crosses Oromia, SNNP and Afar regions is in crises.

“The agricultural productivity and grazing lands have been devastated and exhausted as the floor of the Central Rift Valley is covered by sands,” he said.

The Ethiopian Central Rift Valley (CRV) is part of the Great African Rift Valley that runs from the Middle East to Oromia,  Southern Nations Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR), and Afar regional states in central Ethiopia.

The lakes and their influent rivers in the valley are used for irrigation, soda extraction, fish farming, and recreation as there are wide variety of endemic birds and wild animals.

The national workshop was organized by the Biological Society of Ethiopia, in collaboration with Environment, Biodiversity and Climate Change Forum, and Addis Ababa University.