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On the shores of Lake Malawi, a crowd eagerly awaits the arrival of a white and yellow cedar wood boat carrying its haul.
The crew of six deliver a single net of chambo, sardine and tiny usipa fish from the boat, just one of 72 vessels that land their catch every day on the beach at Senga Bay.
But overfishing and climate change have taken their toll.
Hundreds of local traders gather each morning and afternoon at Senga only to find that fish populations are falling in Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest body of freshwater.
“We were hoping to catch a half-boat full or maybe a quarter-boat … but I’m afraid the fish are dwindling in numbers,” port manager Alfred Banda told AFP staring wearily at the small catch as it was dragged onto the sand.
“Before, we used to catch a full boat but now we are struggling,” he said, adding that a full boat would earn a team of between six and 12 fishermen about $300.
Bordering three countries — Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique — Lake Malawi stretches across more than 29,000 square kilometers (11,200 square miles) with over 1,000 species of fish.
The 14,000 people living at Senga Bay depend on the lake for food and for their livelihood.
“Seven years ago there was lots more fish than today. In 2019 it is different, there’s no fish in the water,” trader Katrina Male, a 40-year-old mother of six, told AFP as she stalked the nets of newly brought in fish seeking the best deal.
“The fish nowadays are more expensive, because they are becoming scarce,” Male said. “Some children have stopped going to school because their parents can’t find the money.”
‘No alternative to fishing’
For both locals and climate experts, declining fish numbers reflect a combination of environmental change and overfishing that augurs ill for the future.
The World Bank ranks Malawi among the top 10 at-risk countries in Africa to climate change, with cyclones and floods among the major threats.
Senga community leader John White Said says increasing gale force winds and torrential rains have made it harder for fishermen on the lake.
“Our men can’t catch fish because of wind which is much stronger than before,” he said, adding that the rains are increasingly unpredictable on the lake.
“The rain before would not destroy houses and nature but now it comes with full power, destroying everything and that affects the water as well.”
According to USAID, the number of rainfalls incidents in the aid-dependent country is likely to decrease — but each rainfall will be more intense, leading to droughts and floods.
The threat was highlighted in March when Malawi was hit by torrential rains from Cyclone Idai, killing 59 people. The storm also cut a swathe through Mozambique and Zimbabwe, leaving nearly 1,000 dead.
On top of the environmental impact, the number of fishermen in Senga had doubled in the last 10 years due to the lack of other jobs, Said said.
“There is no alternative to fishing.”
One of the few to benefit is 38-year-old boat owner Salim Jackson, who rents out his two vessels.
“I got into fishing 13 years ago because I had no other option, I never went to school. But it has brought me good money,” he said.
‘Unsustainable fishing practices’
By sunset, the balls of fishing net lay stretched out on the beach and both buyers and fishermen negotiate prices.
Traders take their purchases in buckets to makeshift reed tables to be dried, smoked, fried or boiled in preparation for the market.
“Declining fish catches are mainly due to unsustainable fishing practices,” said Sosten Chiotha, a Malawian environmental science professor who works for the Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) action group.
“Overfishing is a challenge in Lake Malawi [but] there are efforts on co-management and closed seasons to ensure that the fishery recovers.”
Chiotha added that climate change was hitting Malawi with “increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events in the major ecosystems including lakes.”
That leaves Malawi’s agriculture-based economy sharply vulnerable to climatic events and entrenched poverty heightens pressure on the environment.
Wearing a black silk thawb robe and white kufi cap, Said stands tall on Senga beach, surveying the scene around him.
“I’m worried,” he said. “In Malawi most people depend on fishing financially and as a cheap food source.
“The men have to cast their nets further and further away from the beach.” (VOA)
Social media is an umbrella term that encompasses all apps, websites, and blogs that allow people from all over the world to interact through the internet. Anyone who wishes to use any social media platform must first sign up and then sign in to view content and communicate with other members of that social media platform. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and Snapchat are commonly used social media platforms. Social media, like all technological advancements, has both advantages and disadvantages.
Social media has become an essential aspect of life for many youths in today's society. Numerous young people carry on involving themselves with social media without even bothering to consider its effect on them. The consequences may be both good and bad at times. When it comes to the negative impact of social media on teenagers, the majority of the time, they are unfavourable if the activity is not linked with a commercial or professional objective.
Social media has taken on such significance in today's society that it has overtaken other concerns. | Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash
Social media has taken on such significance in today's society that it has overtaken other concerns. People, especially teens, are addicted to social media and have lost sight of the essential things in their lives like family, friends, physical activities, social interaction, sports, education and much more.
One manner in which social media harms our mental health is through the use of unfavourable social comparisons. Teenagers or even grown-ups who use social media spend a significant amount of time examining the lives and activities of their friends. Continuous comparisons lead to low self-esteem and negative body image in adolescents, increasing depression and anxiety in such people; this includes stalking their achievements, events, their pictures or the events they have attended. On comparing, it makes oneself feel worse about their life.
Teenagers or even grown-ups who use social media spend a significant amount of time examining the lives and activities of their friends. | Photo by Ángel López on Unsplash
We can only see the virtual aspect of a person while we are on social media sites. This means that we can only see the side of the situation that they want us to see. Many people make an effort to present themselves in a way that they are not. Bullying among peers is a common practice, which is acceptable to a certain level. However, when it comes to cyberbullying, it has a significant impact on a person's mental health, as the comments or posts may appear on the newsfeed of any individual and spread quickly. Depression and suicidal behaviour can occur as a result of such things.
Particular teenagers are highly prone to be manipulated. Such teenagers may feel the urge to alter their physical appearance as they begin to compare themselves with every other person they come across on social media. This can result in low-self esteem; also, there is a tremendous temptation to overindulge on social media. Hence, it can become an addiction for adolescents and cause them to get distracted, as already mentioned.
Several studies have found that excessive social media use is frequently associated with underlying problems such as depression, chronic stress, anxiety, or low self-esteem. | Photo by AH NP on Unsplash
Several studies have found that excessive social media use is frequently associated with underlying problems such as depression, chronic stress, anxiety, or low self-esteem. Hence, it becomes a social responsibility for us to keep a check on our and our friends' mental well-being by unplugging our devices, building solid friendships and beginning the search to find our true inner self by meditation, exploring nature and organizing offline get together.
Keywords: negative, unfavourable, friends, depression, teenagers, people, social, mental health
During festivals like Diwali, one shouldn't only pay pay attention to dressing up, shopping and meeting family members; an integral part of festivities includes cleaning and decorating our homes, neighbourhood and spreading joy. But while anybody can clean their homes, designing new spaces can be a tad bit cumbersome. With a restricted budget and high-priced decor products in the market, everyone is always looking out for new ideas that are both cost-effective and can transform your home to welcome Maa Laxmi and the New Year. Don't worry though, the following five budget-friendly ways shared by Niraj Johri, founder & CEO at Casa Decor, help you decorate your home in a manner that makes it unforgettable.
Adding metal accents
Adding brass, silver, or copper accessories in the tiny little spaces inside your home can elevate its overall design aesthetics. Metals are the epitome of elegance and luxury -- they can be moulded to lend an eccentric and dynamic fusion of colours. Due to their unpredictable nature, artisans can find numerous ways in which they can help accentuate every corner in your home.
Folded into intricate forms with beautiful solid colours, metals are an undeniably fascinating material to use in home decor. In fact, they are known for their polished and refined looks that bring together edgy, contemporary, and Victorian styles to the forefront. Such designs can usually be found in handcrafted decor pieces such as metal trays that are perfect centrepieces on wooden tables.
Adding brass, silver, or copper accessories in the tiny little spaces inside your home can elevate its overall design aesthetics. | Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Flowers, flowers everywhere!
This Diwali one should endeavor to shift to organic decor pieces that make use of fresh flowers elevate spaces like doorways, balconies, stairs, or even put them in vases and let the flowers be the centre of attention. Houseplants and flowers not only brighten your surroundings but also boost your mood immediately. Since Diwali calls for parties at home, flowers can function as a catalyst for good vibes.
You can also make use of metal planters enchanted by unexpected colors and veins. Through their unique characteristics and diverse sets of textures, metal planters enable the preservation of charm and value unique to Indian handicraft traditions and cultures.
Since Diwali calls for parties at home, flowers can function as a catalyst for good vibes. | Photo by Roberta Sorge on Unsplash
Light lights! Tea lights
Tea lights are perhaps best used when they are placed inside intricately handcrafted ceramic casings that combine various traditional techniques practised through time. Each piece exudes a sense of muted culture that find a new life in the nuances of the design work.
Each piece exudes a sense of muted culture that find a new life in the nuances of the design work. | Photo by Sven Hornburg on Unsplash
How about some lanterns?
Lanterns with fairy lights is a very popular idea that can be found in most households today. All you must do is fill the jar with fairy lights and hang them in any corner of a room. They offer an inspiring firefly effect that lends a unique and inimitable look to spaces within homes.
Lanterns offer an inspiring firefly effect that lends a unique and inimitable look to spaces within homes. | Photo by Vladimir Fedotov on Unsplash
Mirror Mirror on the wall
Wall mirrors are another way of adding an aesthetic and elegant touch to homes. One can add different sizes of mirrors on empty walls and change the look of the entire area. A classic mirror will add richness to your home and function as a reflective piece to shed light in each corner. (IANS/ MBI)
Wall mirrors are another way of adding an aesthetic and elegant touch to homes. | Photo by Tuva Mathilde Løland on Unsplash
Following a huge growth in his personal fortune, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has renewed his promise to "extend life to Mars". According to The Star, Musk's wealth has swelled to an astonishing $230 billion. Or a whopping 861 billion Dodgecoin, a cryptocurrency backed by the entrepreneur after he was reported to have invested millions.
Musk is now richer than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett combined, both individuals who had previously held the rich list title. "Elon Musk (with a net worth equal to 861 billion #Dogecoin) is now richer than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett COMBINED!" popular crypto YouTuber Matt Wallace's tweeted.
To which Musk said: "Hopefully enough to extend life to Mars". "Have no doubt you will make it happen," Wallace responded. CEO investments, the creators of Dogecoin, also responded backing Musk's plans every step of the way. The SpaceX Mars programme was initiated by Musk to colonize Mars after he first conceptualized the project back in 2001. SpaceX's aspirational goal has been to land the first humans on Mars by 2024, but in October 2020 Musk named 2024 as the goal for an uncrewed mission. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: investments, combined, SpaceX, billion, Elon musk, tesla