But more than that, it is a day that calls for an objective outlook on the state of our environment.
This year’s WED was eventful as it was characterised by much running around as most individuals and organisations made sure they were also a part of the commemorations. It even saw some political parties embark on clean-up campaigns.
I cannot say whether the current sudden show of great interest in matters to do with preserving the environment by many is genuine or mere grandstanding. What I can be more certain of is that there is definitely more environmental awareness in the country and people are continuously seeing the advantages in driving the going green campaign forward.
The corporate world for instance, has over the past year evidently realised that it is of paramount importance to consider environmental implications in their operations.
Whether or not this is just a marketing gimmick meant to make them look good, we are thankful that most of them have finally realised that they are indebted to the environment and need to start giving back.
This year’s WED theme is Green Economy: Does it include you? This is a theme I feel could not have been more appropriate, considering how we still have some people who believe environmental issues are a preserve for the Environment ministry, the Environmental Management Agency, the city councils and those organisations whose core business is the environment.
This is the mentality that would explain why we still have some elements among us who will happily throw litter on the ground as they expect the council workers to come clean after them because “that is what they are paid for, isn’t it?”
This implies that land degradation, water pollution, air pollution and all the other ills that we have come to expect of mining operations in the country, are considered a necessary evil as boosting the economy comes first.
How Zimbabwe can achieve a green economy
According to the web-based Wikipedia: “A green economy is one where growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.”
Considering this definition, would you honestly say that we were moving towards a green economy in Zimbabwe?
The only way to move towards a green economy would be by starting to practise what we preach. If we say we are serious about greening the economy, it means, for instance, we are going to have to monitor mining companies in the country and make sure their operations are conducted in a manner that does not adversely affect our biodiversity, our landscape and our health.
This year’s theme is also appropriate for Zimbabwe considering how our environment is continually being battered in the name of the economy. Just recently, our Mines and Mining minister is reported as having made utterances to the effect that the mining law supersedes all other laws
However, companies have to feel obligated to follow through their products to make sure they do as minimal damage as is possible to the environment.
The only way Zimbabwe can become an environmentally-friendly country is if we realise that the environment concerns each and every one of us and as such, each of us should pull our weight and do all we can in our different capacities, to make things better.
The government definitely needs to revise policies with a view to legislating greener policies.
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