South Africa. Today the world celebrates World Environment Day – a day which aims to spread awareness of the environment while creating awareness of the need to preserve and enhance the environment.
This year’s theme “Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy” – urges people to cut down on activities that increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
“World Environment Day will highlight resources and initiatives that promote low carbon economies and life-styles, such as improved energy efficiency, alternative energy sources, forest conservation and eco-friendly consumption,” said the United Nations (UN) on its website.
Celebrated annually on the 5 June since 1974, the day was designated by the UN.
The date recalls the opening day of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, 1972 which led to the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme.
While recognising that climate change is becoming the defining issue of our era, the day’s agenda is to give a human face to environmental issues.
It aims to empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues, said the union.
It also aims to advocate partnership, which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.
As part of the celebrations for the day, Johannesburg held a two-day climate change summit which started on Monday at Nasrec Expo Centre.
The summit targeted mostly municipalities to create awareness around the city’s climate change mitigation and adaptation programmes.
The city is leading the way in South Africa when it comes to measures to curb climate change.
It has launched a wide range of environmental programmes since hosting the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.
Success stories include greening the city, especially those areas that have been previously disadvantaged; the wetlands rehabilitation programme, specifically the Vorna Valley and Mapetla wetlands; and retro-fitting council-owned buildings with energy efficient lighting.
Meanwhile, the Collect-a-Can- the recycling company has joined organisations and governments around the world in recognising and celebrating the day.
Collect-a-Can embarked on various projects that run throughout the year.
“Our biggest project is the schools competition, a project that aims to encourage, educate and inform children on the importance of a clean environment, through recycling waste like used beverage cans,” said the organisations Managing Director, Funani Mojono.
For the second time this year Collect-a-Can will attempt another Guinness World Record for the most cans collected anywhere in the world.
However, Mr Mojono said the event would be bigger and better than before as more companies and organisations are getting involved in the initiative.
Since Collect-a-Can was established in 1993, it has supported efforts aimed at maintaining a cleaner and safer environment.
For its part, Collect-a-Can has recovered and recycled more than 750 000 tons of used beverage cans.
“Waste management represents a key environmental challenge for South Africa and once again we are dedicating ourselves to ensuring that used beverage cans, and consequently tin-plate, exist in harmony with the environment,” said Mr Mojono.
According to Mr Mojono, Collect-a-Can’s involvement and support in celebrations like the World Environment Day proves how dedicated the company is to curbing environmental pollution and also hope this will serve as an invitation to many other individuals and organisations.
By: Bathandwa Mbola