Environmental issues in Ethiopia

Ethiopia Environment

Overgrazing, deforestation, and poor agricultural practices have contributed to soil erosion so severe, particularly in the Tigray and Eritrea regions, that substantial areas of farmland have been lost to cultivation. As of 1994, 600,000 acres of arable land were washed away each year. The combined effects of severe drought and a 17-year civil war have also added to Ethiopia’s environmental problems. Ethiopia’s forests are also endangered. Each year, the nation loses 340 square miles of forest land. Its forests and woodland decreased by 3.4% between 1983 and 1993. The government did not begin afforestation and soil conservation programs until the early 1970s. Agencies responsible for environmental matters include the Ministry of Agriculture, the Forestry and Wildlife Development Authority, and the Ministry of National Water Resources. The nation’s water supply is also at risk. Access to safe drinking water is available to 12% of the rural population and 81% of city dwellers. Ethiopia has 110 cubic kilometers of renewable water resources with 86% used in agriculture. The nation’s cities produce 1.3 million tons of solid waste per year.

Environmental issues in Ethiopia – Wikipedia

The Great Rift Valley is geologically active and susceptible to earthquakes. Hot springs and active volcanoes are found in its extreme east close to the Red Sea. Elsewhere, the land is subject to erosion, overgrazing, deforestation, and frequent droughts. Water shortages are common in some areas during the dry season. The causes of degradation are primarily the demand for more land for agriculture, fuel and construction as well as for grazing grounds.

Forests in Ethiopia

Ethiopia loses about 141,000 hectares of natural forest each year due to firewood collection, conversion to farmland, overgrazing, and use of forest wood for building material. Ethiopia faces a difficult future, because the agricultural sector, which forms the backbone of the economy, is totally dependent on forest resources.  Between 1990 and 2005, Ethiopia lost 14 percent of its forest cover or 2.1 million hectares. Deforestation rates have increased by 10.4 percent since the close of the 1990s.

Deforestation in Ethiopia – Wikipedia

Deforestation in Ethiopia is due to locals clearing forests for their personal needs, such as for fuel, hunting, agriculture, housing development, and at times for religious reasons. The main causes of deforestation in Ethiopia are shifting agriculture, livestock production and fuel in drier areas. Deforestation is the process of removing the forest ecosystem by cutting the trees and changing the shape of the land to suit different uses

Omo River dam threatens traditional farming and culture in Ethiopia (2010)

An ancient way of life that sustains 200,000 people will be lost if the Ethiopian Government can find the money to build a big new hydroelectric dam on the Omo River.

Can Uganda and Ethiopia act as Egypt’s “water bankers”? (2010)

In 1978, when Ethiopia began studying the feasibility of using the Blue Nile for crop irrigation, the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat responded that “Any action that would endanger the waters of the Blue Nile will be faced with a firm reaction…even if that action should lead to war.”

From antiquity, Egypt has lived with the fear that Ethiopia, its longtime rival, could somehow stop the Nile’s flow. In 1706, during a nasty diplomatic tiff, the Emperor Tekla Haymanot I wrote to Cairo that “The Nile might be made the instrument of our vengeance, God having placed in our hands its fountain, its passage, and its increase, and put it in our power to make it do good or harm.” The emperor was of course bluffing.

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