Climate changes swallow the dreams of the residents of Ezbet El-Borg in Egypt

مروة بدوي
الخميس 02 مايو 2024 | 10:13 مساءً
عزبة البرج تواجه آثار التغير المناخي
عزبة البرج تواجه آثار التغير المناخي


About 235 km north of Cairo, specifically in the Egyptian Damietta Governorate, lies Ezbet El Borg, which is nicknamed the “City of Fishermen” where there is no sound louder than the sound of the sea waves.

Water embraces this area from three sides, forcing most of its approximately 35,000 residents into the profession of fishing, navigation, and shipbuilding.

There are 1,850 boats in it, and it is considered the largest mechanized fishing fleet. It represents 60% of the total fishing fleet in Egypt, and its production covers the consumption of the governorate and neighboring governorates, and a large portion is exported abroad.

Its residents are distinguished by the manufacture of fishing vessels. The city houses an advanced shipbuilding arsenal and floating docks for repairing them. This makes it a station and supply point for fishing boats heading south to the Red Sea, or north to the Mediterranean.

Since the 1980s, the city has known the yachting industry, which flourished and settled in the region due to the skill of the workforce, but this profession, on which simple people live, is now threatened with drowning due to the climate change crisis.

One of the expected scenarios for the North Delta region, including Ezbet El-Borg, is the scenario proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They assumed that the Mediterranean sea level will rise by 20-80 cm, which may mean submerging the coastal areas in the Nile Delta as a result of the melting of ice at the North Pole due to global warming.

Time range of the scenario

“Hamdi Al-Hawari”, a researcher in climate justice and education for sustainable development, told “Green in Arabic” that there are several scenarios dealing with the future of the Egyptian coasts in the northern Delta, but perhaps this scenario issued by the IPCC is the closest to reality. It is based on the repercussions of the phenomenon of rising temperatures that the region is suffering from, it is also “less pessimistic” compared to other scenarios.

According to this scenario, the water level will reach 100 cm in the year 2100, and the size of the affected delta area will reach about 25% of its total area. The size of the affected population will reach about 6 million people.

Estimates generally indicate that the Earth's temperature will rise by 3 degrees by the end of the current century, and there are other estimates that expect that by 2030 the temperature will have risen by 2 degrees in any case.

As the phenomenon of global warming grows, layers of snow in frozen areas will melt, and sea and ocean levels will increase, and the northern coasts of Egypt will be among the areas exposed to the risks of rising sea levels and the sinking of part of the delta.

According to this scenario, a sea level rise of 100 cm threatens 9 governorates: Alexandria, Ismailia, Beheira, Dakahlia, Sharqia, Port Said, Damietta, North Sinai, and Kafr El-Sheikh. This is 37 cities with an area of more than 35 thousand acres.

Serious repercussions

Egyptian coastal cities have different degrees of flexibility in dealing with climate change. Each region has its own characteristics that reflect on its future in the face of this crisis.

“Al-Hawari” says that Ezbet El-Borg witnesses two phenomena: The first was a severe rise in temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, and the second was a significant decrease in the amount of rainfall. This led to the deterioration of agricultural lands and damage to crops.

With regard to fishing, climate changes and weather fluctuations have affected the fishing movement in Lake Manzala, as well as the Bugaz of Ezbet El-Borg. The Bugaz is a narrow water opening that connects the Mediterranean Sea to Lake Manzala. Most boats stopped going out to fish in the Mediterranean due to bad weather, such as wind speed and high waves.

The rise in sea level and the region's exposure to flooding affects fish farming in the region. It plays a vital role in relieving pressure on natural fisheries, limits their depletion, and gives them an opportunity to reproduce and sustain themselves. It also works to exploit agricultural drainage water and waste lands.

“Al-Hawari” explained that high temperatures lead to fish growing in unsuitable environmental conditions, and the low percentage of dissolved oxygen in the water affects the vital processes of fish and their ability to reproduce. This reduces the quantity and size of fish.

In return, the raised level of carbon dioxide leads to an increase in its solubility in ocean and sea water, and an increase in water acidity, which affects the growth and reproduction of aquatic organisms.

Global warming could also result in exposing the lives of thousands of species of aquatic organisms to the threat of extinction and disruption of biodiversity in general.

This comes in addition to the increase in salinity of the water of the northern lakes, including Lake Manzala, as a result of the rise in temperature and then the increase in the rate of evaporation, in addition to the phenomenon of pollution resulting from industrial and agricultural drainage and the lack of fresh water entering the lakes.

Marginalized groups

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), due to the rise in sea water temperature and the different distribution of fish locations, fishermen will have to work away from the coast to maintain normal catch rates. This exposes them to risks and leads to reduced income.

Drought leads to spoilage of crops and increases of food prices, and threatens food insecurity, especially for the marginalized and the poor. This may cause an increase in migration and conflicts, and curb opportunities for children, according to “Al-Hawari”.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) pointed out that climate change poses a direct threat to children's ability to survive, develop and prosper, in addition to the spread of diseases such as cholera. This represents an imminent danger to children in particular.

Children are most vulnerable to diseases that will become more widespread as a result of climate change, including malaria and dengue fever. Children under the age of five bear approximately 90% of the disease burden due to climate change.

Demographic factors

Ezbet El Borg suffers from pollution of the river, sea and lake, in addition to pollution of drinking water as a result of dilapidated water stations. The city turned into a pool of waste, whether factory waste or sewage and agricultural waste, which negatively affects humans, the environment, fish farms, and agricultural production.

Ezbet El Borg suffers from pollution in the river, sea and lake, in addition to pollution of drinking water as a result of dilapidated water stations. The city turned into a pool of waste, whether factory waste or sewage and agricultural waste. Which negatively affects humans, the environment, fish farms, and agricultural production.

“Al-Adawy” stressed, in a statement to “Green in Arabic”, the necessity of studying the increase in the interference or leakage of salty sea water into the freshwater aquifers in the region, which may lead to the contamination of drinking water sources, and that seawater leakage is one of the main reasons for the deterioration of the quality of the groundwater aquifer in the Delta region.

He pointed out the importance of following adaptation measures and increasing the ability of cities to adapt to these climate changes, while raising the efficiency of infrastructure to be prepared for extreme weather conditions, such as high temperatures and unusual amounts of rain.

Al-Adawi called for enhancing community participation, and not limiting awareness campaigns, taking into account the social level of the residents of Ezbet El-Borg. It is the highest city in Damietta Governorate in terms of illiteracy rates, with high rates of child labor. 

Demographic factors increase the economic and social impacts of climate change.

Preventative measurements

“Hamdi Al-Hawari” recommended the necessity of completing the sea wall project in front of Lake Manzala to preserve the remaining islands and invest in the area, in addition to reducing carbon emissions by planting dense trees and recycling wastewater.

He also called for financing a project to study the impact of climate change on fish wealth in the region, with the need to replace biological treatment of water pollution with chemical treatment as much as possible by using extracts or plant species, such as genera of bacteria, algae, or safe plants instead of chemicals.

The climate crisis continues to worry the world, especially developing countries that contribute the least to carbon emissions. Egypt contributes annually to 0.67% of total global emissions, but it is one of the countries most affected by the repercussions of climate change.











عزبة البرج تواجه آثار التغير المناخي
عزبة البرج تواجه آثار التغير المناخي
عزبة البرج تواجه آثار التغير المناخي
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عزبة البرج تواجه آثار التغير المناخي
عزبة البرج تواجه آثار التغير المناخي
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عزبة البرج
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