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By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Paris
A marine research Centre in Perpignan in Southern France will undertake a study of the impact of climate change and soil erosion on a sacred burial site on the French Polynesian island of Raietea.
The open air temple, known as the Taputaputea marae is a political, ceremonial and burial site with a large standing stone at the Centre. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage in July 2019.
A researcher from the Centre Recherche Ecosystemes Marins (CREM) told visiting journalists from the Pacific on an international visitor programme in France, the request has come from the French Polynesian Government.
“We are waiting for funding to be finalised before we start our work. It’s the first time we will conduct this kind of study outside mainland France, said the senior researcher.
“We have seen that small part of the grave site is still visible and the worry in French Polynesia is that with the changing climate and rise in sea level, the graves overtime will be greatly impacted by soil erosion.
Soil erosion from coastal areas is also a big concern for French cities located along the Mediterranean Sea.
Analysed data from the last century until 1984 was 4.1 million square metres but the sand erosion has increased to 30.2 million square metres until 2001.
“We need to start managing our coastal erosion particularly when some of our infrastructure & residential areas are located along the coast, said the senior CREM researcher:
“In Montpellier we have moved 2-3 kilometers of road away from the coast. Government is also shifting development away from coastal areas.
“Study has revealed that if soil erosion continues by 2045, local authorities will need 49 million square metres of sand to replenish the coastal areas.
“For now, government will not approve any infrastructure to be built in these areas. At the end of the day it becomes a political decision, said the researcher.
The impact of climate change on the coastal communities is also affecting French cities along the Mediterranean coast in Southern France..
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