CITW Botswana attends World Environment Day 2023 Celebrations in Maun

Established by the United Nations (UN) in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972, World Environment Day is an annual event that is internationally celebrated on 05 June to encourage environmental protection and natural resources conservation.

The Botswana Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), through the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), hosted a national event on 9 June 2023 in Maun, under the universal theme of “Beat Plastic Pollution”. The Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Botswana team and Wilderness’ Environmental Department were privileged to attend the panel discussion, along with other attendees who included the Director of the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary of the MET, the District Commissioner, the Director of the Department of Waste Management, and several other organisations.

The purpose of World Environment Day celebrations is aimed at raising awareness on plastic pollution and how it affects livelihood, the environment and businesses. At this event, stakeholders engaged to seek possible solutions to plastic pollution through dialogue. It was highlighted that this will help the country to halt the degradation of our ecosystems and restore them, to achieve global goals.

The Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary from the MET, Ms Chandapiwa Sebeela, noted that plastic is a major contributor to both land and water pollution. When it is not properly disposed of, it can end up in our oceans and rivers, harming marine life. She urged people to use the opportunity of this environmental awareness day to renew their commitment to beating plastic pollution together, so that as a country we can re-write the narrative – from destruction to restoration. She also encouraged the attendees to inspire change, foster innovation, and build the future, where the beauty and resilience of our planet are preserved for the generations to come.

Plastic waste is a worldwide problem and poses a threat to our ecosystems, making it impossible to achieve our 2030 agenda for sustainable development goals (SDG). Therefore, countries must bring on board all stakeholders, indeed, the entire human race, to deal with this menace.

Other stakeholders shared information on how to beat plastic pollution, and attendees were encouraged to acknowledge their roles in generating waste, and become environmental stewards by desisting from using plastic materials, ensuring there is proper recycling in place, using eco-friendly products and becoming a good ambassador by spreading the word.

The organising team also urged all stakeholders to plant trees in their respective areas as a way of extending the 2023 World Environment Day campaign theme #BeatPlasticPollution. The CITW team promotes this initiative in partner schools, where children learn that planting trees is an essential contributor to mitigating climate change in general – as trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, as mentioned by the Director of Waste Management and Pollution Control, Ms Serumola.

At the end of the discussions, dignitaries and individuals took the opportunity to move around the various display stalls. Our CITW team and the Wilderness Environmental Department had a stall to share information on the different ways we address plastic pollution in camps and partner schools.

CITW and Wilderness Botswana would like to extend their gratitude to the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) for giving the teams the opportunity to attend the event, and share the learnings on plastic pollution.

Report by Gabaineele “Gaba” Modirapula, CITW Botswana Administrator

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