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Kiribati:
Geography

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Kiribati Page


Background
Definition
The Gilbert Islands were granted self-rule by the UK in 1971 and complete independence in 1979 under the new name of Kiribati. The US relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix and Line Island groups in a 1979 treaty of friendship with Kiribati.
Location
Definition
Oceania, group of 33 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the Equator; the capital Tarawa is about half way between Hawaii and Australia; note - on 1 January 1995, Kiribati proclaimed that all of its territory lies in the same time zone as its Gilbert Islands group (UTC +12) even though the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands under its jurisdiction lie on the other side of the International Date Line
Geographic coordinates
Definition
1 25 N, 173 00 E
Map references
Definition
Oceania
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 811 sq km
land: 811 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes three island groups - Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands
Area - comparative
Definition
four times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
1,143 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical; marine, hot and humid, moderated by trade winds
Terrain
Definition
mostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Banaba 81 m
Natural resources
Definition
phosphate (production discontinued in 1979)
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 2.74%
permanent crops: 47.95%
other: 49.31% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
NA
Natural hazards
Definition
typhoons can occur any time, but usually November to March; occasional tornadoes; low level of some of the islands make them sensitive to changes in sea level
Environment - current issues
Definition
heavy pollution in lagoon of south Tarawa atoll due to heavy migration mixed with traditional practices such as lagoon latrines and open-pit dumping; ground water at risk
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
21 of the 33 islands are inhabited; Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Makatea in French Polynesia, and Nauru


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