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Environmental problems in Mozambique

Hawksbill Turtle Beach Bazaruto Island, Mozambique

Problems that affect Mozambique’s environment include:

 Loss of natural habitat

About 80% of Mozambique’s population live in rural areas and depend on wood for cooking and for heating of water for domestic use, space heating and drying of foodstuffs.1 This reliance on trees could spell disaster should population levels rise.

Mangroves are being removed and converted into rice farms and salt pans, aquaculture and housing. Further offshore, corals are subjected to destructive fishing practices (e.g. use of fine mesh nets and dynamite).

What is WWF doing? 
What is WWF doing?

Illegal and unsustainable wildlife use, and human wildlife conflict

In Mozambique like elsewhere in Africa and Asia, habitat loss is causing humans and wildlife to share increasingly smaller living spaces. Both sides are losing in the conflicts that ensue, such as in and around the Delta of the Zambezi River. There, crocodiles and hippos are coming face to face with humans increasingly often, while poaching and other illegal activities put species in jeopardy.

In some places, such as Quirimbas National Park, there are concerns that current levels of resource use – e.g. sand oysters - may not be sustainable, and are already leading to diminishing harvests of fish and other resources. For local people, this means reduced incomes and increased poverty in the long run.


Off Mozambique’s coast, tankers carrying crude oil from the Arabian Gulf have resulted in contamination of the sea from spills and discharge of polluted ballast waters. In urban settings, rural sewage treatment is inadequate, exposing people to potential outbreaks of disease.


Poor farming practices and deforestation contribute to sedimentation of rivers that run to the sea, degrading seagrasses and coral reefs.