Thursday, January 04, 2007

The great African robbery

A paper published by the Institute of Physics Publishing in July’ 06 describes how the Amazon basin is fertilized with nutrients contained in dust blown from a single spot 5000 km away- the Bodele depression in northern Chad, Africa.

While that part of Africa languishes as a part of the Saharan desert, dust from there gets blown to a distant continent to enrich the soil and help create a flourishing eco-sytem. What a noble thing to do.

This seems to have been the story of Africa all along. Robbed by greedy human beings from other continents and stripped off her gold, diamonds, oil, rubber, wood and other natural resources. According to the Nobel-award winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, historically, Africa is the region most exploited by globalization; during the years of colonization, the world took its resources and gave back little in return. Out of the eighteen poorest countries, fourteen are in Africa.

Now, it transpires that Nature has been part of the looting all along, quietly scooping up the Saharan nutrient-rich dust and ferrying it across the Atlantic. Robbing African deserts to enrich forests in other continents.


Anonymous said...

The link to the paper is broken.


Raj said...

Naveen, thanks. I have 'repaired' the broken link now. Hope it works.