Clean en­vi­ron­ment for healthy society

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - ANALYSIS -

yields from rain-fed agri­cul­ture could be re­duced by up to 50 per­cent by 2020.

The good news is that an ef­fec­tive rem­edy to cli­mate change is sur­pris­ingly af­ford­able if ev­i­dence-based ac­tion is taken sooner rather than later. One of the ef­fec­tive reme­dies is to keep our en­vi­ron­ment clean and green.

While de­vel­oped coun­tries will have to take the lead and bear most of the cost in fund­ing both re­me­di­a­tion and adap­ta­tion, de­vel­op­ing coun­tries will need to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in lim­it­ing global warm­ing to safe­guard their own fu­ture by build­ing re­siliency to cli­mate change, and par­tic­u­larly re­cy­cling of waste by in­tro­duc­ing smart waste man­age­ment sys­tems.

De­lib­er­ate and ev­i­dence-based pol­icy adap­ta­tions can help make the liveli­hood as­sets of the poor more re­silient to en­vi­ron­men­tal stresses; im­ple­ment­ing early warn­ing sys­tems to an­tic­i­pate en­vi­ron­men­tal emer­gen­cies and to pre­vent dis­as­ters; and es­tab­lish­ing mi­cro in­surance schemes or so­cial pro­tec­tion pro­vi­sions for farm­ers.

Avail­abil­ity of timely in­for­ma­tion about the en­vi­ron­men­tal stresses and reme­dies to gov­ern­ment, me­dia and pub­lic can gen­er­ate dis­course and al­low for an in­formed ac­tion to mit­i­gate and re­duce the risk of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

Given the ur­gency to ad­dress the ef­fects of cli­mate change, we need to ac­cel­er­ate the speed and scale of our re­sponse and this clean-up ini­tia­tive led by the Gov­ern­ment will be in­stru­men­tal in the ef­fort to com­bat cli­mate change in Zim­babwe by adopt­ing re­duce, re­use and re­cy­cle mech­a­nism to waste man­age­ment.

In ad­di­tion, the ini­tia­tive will also cre­ate the ba­sis to fos­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion and part­ner­ships to build re­silience and em­power the peo­ple of Zim­babwe, par­tic­u­larly com­mu­ni­ties in poor hy­giene and san­i­ta­tions ar­eas.

The launch of Zim­babwe’s Na­tional Clean-Up Ini­tia­tive co­in­cided with the UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral’s meet­ing in Ka­tow­ice, Poland to chart the way for­ward for cli­mate ac­tion as part of the prepa­ra­tions for the COP24, the cul­mi­na­tion of which will be the UN Cli­mate Change Sum­mit in New York hap­pen­ing next year.

The Sum­mit will fo­cus on driv­ing ac­tion in six ar­eas: tran­si­tion to re­new­able en­ergy; fund­ing of cli­mate ac­tion and car­bon pric­ing; re­duc­ing emis­sions from in­dus­try; us­ing na­ture as a so­lu­tion; sus­tain­able cities and lo­cal ac­tion; and cli­mate change re­silience.

All the ar­eas au­gur well with this clean-up cam­paign which strives not only pro­mote hy­giene, san­i­ta­tion and healthy life­styles, but also en­sures en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity.

In pro­mot­ing zero tol­er­ance to lit­ter, it is pru­dent for Zim­babwe to fo­cus par­tic­u­larly on the plas­tic men­ace.

Plas­tics are the most com­mon el­e­ment of solid waste pro­duced in Zim­babwe and in­deed across the world.

Plas­tic takes a long time to break down so the plas­tic we throw out to­day is go­ing to be around for many gen­er­a­tions.

The prob­lem is that plas­tic does not dis­ap­pear rather it breaks into small pieces also known as mi­cro plas­tics.

Ev­ery sin­gle piece of plas­tic that has ever been pro­duced still ex­ists to­day.

In ad­di­tion, other is­sues re­main with our wa­ter­ways that suf­fer from both solid and liq­uid waste from var­i­ous in­dus­tries and res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

We have also seen the health haz­ard that un­man­aged waste presents - namely the cholera and ty­phoid out­breaks that are clear tes­ti­monies of to­day.

The UN in Zim­babwe is cog­nisant of the fact that sus­tain­able waste man­age­ment is closely as­so­ci­ated with the nu­mer­ous de­vel­op­ment goals iden­ti­fied un­der the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals in­clud­ing healthy lives, sus­tain­able cities, in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment, poverty re­duc­tion, food and re­source se­cu­rity, con­sump­tion and pro­duc­tion, de­cent work, green jobs and cli­mate change.

The UN will join and sup­port Zim­babwe in all its en­deav­ours for a cleaner and safer en­vi­ron­ment.

As such, we will com­mit to sup­port the Gov­ern­ment’s clean-up cam­paign by do­ing the fol­low­ing:

Sup­port­ing con­tin­ued di­a­logue with the pri­vate sec­tor for more sus­tained waste man­age­ment and clean up re­sults;

De­sign­ing de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes that aim to sus­tain a green econ­omy through sup­port­ing green en­ter­prises and jobs;

Work­ing closely with the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to en­hance their ca­pac­ity to de­liver on their man­date in main­tain­ing clean spa­ces;

Broad­en­ing the scope of wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion pro­gram­ming to in­clude manag­ing the con­tam­i­na­tion risks posed by im­prop­erly manag­ing waste; and

En­cour­ag­ing UN staff to act as am­bas­sadors of this cam­paign wher­ever they work and live in Zim­babwe.

I would like to con­grat­u­late the Pres­i­dent and his Gov­ern­ment, one again, for launch­ing this much-needed ini­tia­tive and would like to en­cour­age ev­ery­one to seize this op­por­tu­nity to make a pos­i­tive im­pact and take sig­nif­i­cant steps to­ward keep­ing Zim­babwe healthy and clean.

My En­vi­ron­ment, My Pride is truly a win­ning mantra.

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