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Call to action in celebration of World Environment Day

Date: 2022-06-06 14:05:09

Call to action in celebration of World Environment Day

Climate change is real and requires collective effort to mitigate its effects. This was the message emanating from World Environment Day celebrations held on 5 June. 

This year the City partnered with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) to globally commemorate World Environment Day 2022.

Durban was chosen as the host city due to the recent floods that wreaked havoc in the City. The theme for this year was “Only one earth” with the focus on living sustainably in harmony with nature. The celebrations started with a fun walk on Durban’s Golden Mile led by MEC of EDTEA Ravi Pillay and Meseret Teklemariam Zemedkun from UNEP.

Various environmental non-governmental organisations and impacted communities participated in the walk to raise awareness of environmental issues. It ended with a formal programme and tree planting at Blue Lagoon. MEC Pillay said the recent torrential rains and floods experienced in KwaZulu-Natal are evidence of the devastating impact the environmental crises can have on humanity, economies, and the natural world. “It is a stark reminder of the urgent action needed.”

He cited the example of Toyota that was closed for many days following the floods and how this impacted the plant, jobs, and the families that are dependent on the manufacturing plant for income. He commended various communities who proactively contributed towards protecting the environment in which they live, such as the Burlington community and the Ntuzuma youth for environmental programmes they have implemented. “We should all commit to making changes and contribute towards mitigating and adapting to climate change. We all need to do our bit as this is the only way we will be able to overcome the disastrous impact of climate change.”

Zemedkun said World Environment Day is the biggest international day for environmental awareness. The world is facing three major environmental crises namely climate change, biodiversity and nature loss, as well as waste pollution. This is driven by human activity and unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, he said. “The world’s most vulnerable communities are often the worst impacted by the environmental crises. Africa is one the most impacted continents, yet one that contributes to global warming the least. We therefore call on everyone to check their actions and ensure that they are not harming the environment. We need to live in harmony with nature as we have only one Earth,” said Zemedkun.