Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu has called for increased education on the African continent on the need to protect the environment.
He said this in a statement on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day that was celebrated yesterday.
Earth Day was first marked in the United States as a peaceful call for environmental reform, following a massive oil spill off the coast of California.
Since then, the day has been commemorated annually by millions across the globe, drawing attention to the huge challenges the planet faces and offering an opportunity for the world to reflect upon its relationship with the planet.
The theme for Earth Day 2020 is “Climate Action” highlighting the enormous challenge of action on climate change and distinguishes the issue as the most pressing topic going into the next decade.
“Throughout Africa, we experience environmental challenges such as climate change, deforestation, improper waste management, desertification, water pollution and land degradation,” Minister Ndlovu said.
“There is an increase in drought, monsoons, flooding and famine. This has threatened people’s livelihoods and the livelihood of other animal species and ecosystems.
“Earth Day calls on every citizen to rise up and come together to engage the public, educate people about the environment, and act to make positive and sustainable changes to protect the earth that we all live on.”
Minister Ndlovu said climate change represented the biggest challenge to humanity and the life support systems that make the earth habitable.
He urged people to preserve forests as they were a powerful tool to combat climate change.
Minister Ndlovu said lessons should be drawn from the Covid-19 pandemic on creating preventive mechanisms before a problem strikes.