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更新时间:2017-4-1 10:40:58 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

As the Maldives Gains Tourists, It’s Losing Its Beaches

GURAIDHOO, Maldives — From the foyer of his small guesthouse some 100 feet from the shoreline, Mohamed Nizar, 52, was wondering how long his business could remain viable.

马尔代夫古拉德胡——小客栈的门厅距海岸线大约有100英尺(约合30米),52岁的默罕默德·尼扎尔(Mohamed Nizar)站在那里,不知道自己的生意还能维持多久。

Last year, during an unusually nasty storm, water snaked through the narrow streets of Guraidhoo, a small island in the Maldives, pooling around the floor of the three-room house and chasing away guests.


Down along the beach, the picture was even worse. Erosion of the shore has become so severe, he said, that the owner of a neighboring guesthouse stakes plastic jerrycans in the sand to curb flooding during sea swells.


“What is the lagoon now used to be the football field on this island,” Mr. Nizar said on a recent afternoon. “I have to leave this guesthouse if it keeps eroding. I am sure of it.”


Guesthouses have proliferated across this archipelago in the Indian Ocean, as the Maldives shifts away from catering to the über-rich and welcomes budget-conscious travelers.


But unlike resort islands, which spend millions of dollars on constructing sea walls, dredging sand and hiring marine biologists, islands with small-scale guesthouses are mostly reliant on the government for protection from shore erosion and rising seas, which many on Guraidhoo attribute to climate change.


Residents say the funds for conservation projects are available in the form of tourist taxes, paid through business owners to the government. The problem, they say, is that it is unclear where the money is going — or whether it ultimately can save the world’s lowest-lying country.


“If the Maldives don’t exist, we’re not losing just 400,000 people,” said Maeed Mohamed Zahir, the director for advocacy at Ecocare, an environmental organization based in Malé, the capital.

“如果马尔代夫不存在了,失去的不只是40万人,”在位于首都马累的环保组织关爱生态(Ecocare)担任倡导主管的麦伊德·穆罕默德·查希尔(Maeed Mohamed Zahir)说。

“We’re losing a nationality, an identity, a cultural history, a language, a script,” he added. “We’re losing the beaches. We’re losing the coconut palms. We’re losing everything.”


For most of the Maldives’s history as a tourist destination, its government prohibited visitors from staying on the 200 islands inhabited by locals. Instead, foreigners were ferried to privately owned resort islands where villas jutting out into the ocean are the norm.


But after the 2008 election of Mohamed Nasheed as president — the first democratically elected leader after 30 years under autocracy — a law was passed that allowed residents to open guesthouses.

但穆罕默德·纳希德(Mohamed Nasheed)于2008年当选总统后,一项允许居民开客栈的法案得以通过。纳希德是在马尔代夫历经30年的独裁统治之后,经民主选举产生的第一位领导人。

Although the tourism industry is still dominated by villas rented for thousands of dollars a night, foreigners can now book more modest accommodations for as little as $30. Around 400 guesthouses are registered in the Maldives.


Now, with guesthouses injecting cash into local economies and providing greater employment opportunities outside the resort industry, many hope this new revenue generator is here to stay. That is, of course, if the islands remain above water.


In 2015, to help fund conservation and waste management projects in the Maldives, the government passed a bill levying a “green tax” on tourists visiting resorts. For every night booked, tourists pay $6. Last year, guesthouses, which were initially exempt from the policy, were added to the list of green taxpaying businesses at a discounted rate of $3 a night.


Guraidhoo has a permanent population of around 1,900 people, but hosts 12 guesthouses and another 1,000 day visitors. But residents say the government has yet to start work on their island.


“It is very simple,” said Mohamed Solih, 50, the owner of Ithaa Beach Inn. “The cow that gives more milk has to be fed more. So islands that pay tourism taxes should be a priority in shore protection initiatives by the government.”

“事情很简单,”伊萨沙滩客栈(Ithaa Beach Inn)的主人、现年50岁的穆罕默德·索利赫(Mohamed Solih)说,“要让奶牛多产奶,就得多喂草料。因此政府开展沙滩保护行动时应该优先考虑交旅游税的岛。”

Asked how green taxes are spent, the Ministry of Environment directed questions to the country’s Environmental Protection Agency, which directed questions to the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance declined to comment despite repeated questions. A review of the country’s 2017 budget proposal did not yield information about where green tax revenue is allocated.


Among concerns voiced by residents of Guraidhoo are a monsoon season that has become more erratic and intense, and degradation of the reef system, which acts as a natural buffer against rising seas. There are also problems with erosion — which residents attribute to storm surges — harbor modifications and even shore protection practices on other islands.


Gazing out toward the island of Kandooma, which is separated from Guraidhoo by a thin channel of water, Mr. Solih said he believed part of the erosion problem could be attributed to sand dredging at the nearby Holiday Inn Resort.

索利赫望着与古拉德胡隔着一道窄窄海峡的康杜玛岛说,他认为侵蚀问题在某种程度上可以被归咎于附近假日酒店度假村(Holiday Inn Resor)的挖沙之举。

“Erosion on this island is very much connected to the development work done on the resort,” he said. “Kandooma is a coral rock island, not a sand island like you see now. They dredged sand and pumped sand and reclaimed the beaches. After that, erosion became a big problem here.”


At the resort, Mohamed Shahid, a marine biologist who oversees shore protection projects, said sand dredging was not eroding Guraidhoo’s shore, but he acknowledged that the relationship between the islands had occasionally been frosty.

在那个度假村,负责督导海岸保护工程的海洋生物学家穆罕默德·沙希德(Mohamed Shahid)说,挖沙作业并未让古拉德胡的海岸受到侵蚀。但他承认两岛之间的关系有时会变得非常紧张。

“We have had a lot of discussions with the local authorities on that side,” he said, adding that Guraidhoo improperly disposes of garbage, which affects the resort. “We try to be diplomatic. We help them and they help us kind of a thing.”


On a recent tour of the Holiday Inn, Mr. Shahid was enthusiastic about technology used to protect Kandooma. Apart from using a dredging machine, which he estimated cost several hundred thousand dollars, concrete sea walls have been erected at certain points near the beach.


In total, Mr. Shahid said the operating budget for putting shore protection in place at the resort most likely surpassed $1 million.