Somalia blames MENA's shisha addiction for deforestation

Published November 25th, 2015 - 08:01 GMT

Somalia has blamed Saudi Arabia for contributing to the decline of 90 percent of the forests that once covered that country.

In an official report, submitted to the United Nations, the African country has alleged that one of the main reasons for deforestation is cutting of trees, particularly the mahogany species, to meet the charcoal demand of hookah or shisha smokers in the Kingdom.

The report, which comes ahead of the conference on climate change to be held in Paris, says that only 10.5 percent of Somalia's dense forests remain — a very different situation from what existed prior to the outbreak of the civil war in that country in the 1980s.

The report indicates that charcoal is exported in enormous quantities to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to be used for shisha. The report adds that other quantities are exported to Yemen and India, leading to the disappearance of the forest cover, and to increased drought and desertification.

The report warned that the deforestation has led to dwindling acreages allocated to growing frankincense or olibanum (aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes, obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia) and to lower volumes of crops of bananas, cotton, rice, mangoes, and citrus.


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