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Opinions of Friday, 24 April 2015

Columnist: Eyiah, Joseph Kingsley

The Earth, Our Abode!

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness”

By Joe Kingsley Eyiah, (OCT), Brookview M.S., Toronto-Canada

April 22 is celebrated the world over as Earth Day. The day is used to hype awareness on and the need to keep our environment clean. It also focuses on bringing the citizens of the globe together to engage in public activities and programs that promote environmental cleanliness and support sustainability in economic development! This year the organization for the Earth Day celebration (earthday.org/2015) has designated the Earth Day’s 45th anniversary as “It’s our turn to lead”. How true! I am always glad to organize my students to do some clean-ups and tree planting around our school. The children normally enjoy such activities.

It is sad to note that for 20 years now the world has failed in its attempts to create an effective international treaty on climate change mitigation. Hopefully, the US President Obama’s recent challenge to big countries like China, who are the worst polluters to lead in the crusade against climate change, will be taken seriously by all world leaders. Obama was speaking at the U.N. Climate Summit, a one-day meeting hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and open to leaders of all 193 U.N. member states.
Over the years, physical development and human activities have posed a great danger to our environment. Industrial pollution, deforestation, over population, unauthorized construction and dumping of waste in surface waters, to mention a few, has brought degradation to the environment threatening our very existence on the planet earth.
Reports have it that at least 170 facilities that handle chemicals, including substances that are toxic or flammable, are scattered across Toronto. And that many of these facilities are close to schools, play grounds and some of the most heavily populated areas of the metropolitan.
Sadly, most residents have no idea what chemicals are being used in their neighborhoods or whether adequate precautions are being taken in case of emergency.
In Accra-Ghana, some developers have constructed unauthorized buildings in and across the drainage of the city. The result is lost of property and lives during heavy rainfall as the Accra becomes flooded.
The world’s human population was expected to have surpassed 6 billion in 1999. This will double by 2020 should the trend of population explosion continue. “The increasing population is placing a nonsustainable stress on the environment, as humans consume ever-increasing quantities of food and water, use more and more energy and raw materials, and produce enormous amounts of waste and pollution,” says the 1997 World Population Report published by Saunders College.
The Amazon in South America and the equatorial forests of Africa are losing most of their flora and fauna species to deforestation.
Managing Our Environment:
Cleanliness is next to godliness. I personally believe in axiom. How clean we keep our environment shows how responsible we are to the Creator-God! The Creator put man in the first environment on earth-the Garden of Eden and instructed man to keep it. How are we keeping our environment?
As human settlements develop into cities like Accra in Ghana and Toronto in Canada, garbage disposal management becomes crucial. Such management if neglected or poorly handled leads to environmental hazard. This is where recycling becomes important and the responsibility of all residents. I’m heartened to learn that as part of a plan to improve recycling rates at apartment building in Toronto, the City is making sure that all buildings receiving city garbage collection also receive recycling collection. The goal is to have all buildings on the program by the end of this year. Good for Toronto! I hope Accra learns from Toronto’s experience.
Another area is managing our air and water. We have to prevent or minimize air and water pollution. Pollution is an unwanted change in the atmosphere, water or soil that can harm humans or other organisms.
Though many governments have made legislation/regulations controlling pollution in their countries, we have an obligation as concerned citizens of the planet-earth wherever we are to be the watchdogs of the environment.
Let’s Act Now:
1. We have to join the largest climate petition to save our world. As voters, we must tell our local, national and international leaders to phase out carbon.
2. There is the crucial need for us to support environmental education wherever we are and of course, live by what we preach to other about keeping the environment healthy.
3. We must reduce our energy consumption and use clean energy.