Rwanda hosts World Environment Day

World Environment Day on 5 June 2010 is hosted by Rwanda, themed on ‘Many Species, One Planet, One Future’.

The host country is rotated every year. The 2010 theme aligns the event with International Year of Biodiversity, and the main event culminates in a week-long international exposition.

This year’s global host, Rwanda, is an African country of exceptional biodiversity that has made huge strides in environmental protection, and will lead the celebrations with three days of keynote events.

The event raises awareness of the environment, political attention and general public action. On this date in 1972 the United Nations conference on Human Environment began in Stockholm, the first time that political, social and economic problems of global environment were discussed at an intergovernmental forum with a view to corrective action.

Thousands of activities will also be organised worldwide, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibitions, film festivals, community events, themed on ecosystem management and green economy.

The chemical industry in South Africa has an ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability through the global Responsible Care programme, which sets management practice standards for member companies on the responsible manufacture, storage, transport, use and disposal of chemicals,” said Dr Laurraine Lotter of the Chemical and Allied Industries Association (CAIA) and Responsible Care.

One of the primary goals of Responsible Care is to achieve responsible pollution prevention and resource efficiency among member companies, thereby protecting the environment.

Member companies are required to protect and maintain the quality and quantity of the habitat, vegetation and species in areas surrounding worksites, which may be chemical manufacturing or processing plants, bulk storage facilities, warehouses, waste disposal sites or laboratories.

In addition, Responsible Care requires member companies to implement procedures to prevent the loss of endangered species, ecosystems, habitats and wetlands, and to rehabilitate contaminated land to prevent soil erosion or degradation.

Responsible Care environmental standards are designed to ensure cleaner production and waste minimisation, so as to continuously reduce contaminants and pollutants released to the air, water and land and thus protect both the public and the environment.

At the same time, the standards are designed to achieve ongoing efficiency and improvements in resource utilisation, thereby striving towards ultimate sustainability.

Public and workplace events hints and tips include:
•    Change energy-intensive bulbs to CFL energy savers
•    Circulate electronic instead of paper versions of accounts and statements
•    Compost garden refuse and organic household waste
•    Recycle paper, plastic, glass and cans
•    Switch off lights when not being used
•    Consider solar panels to heat your geyser, instead of electricity
•    Plant water-wise indigenous plants and trees
•    Dispose of chemicals safely, not in storm water and municipal drains
•    When camping or hiking, do not disturb natural habitats or plants, and remove waste and litter.

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