Orange SL surges for green environment

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By: Foday Ansumana

The global community faces an array of health challenges that necessitate a comprehensive and coordinated approach. A pivotal aspect of environmental health initiatives involves a harmonized strategy encompassing human, animal, plant, and environmental health services, executed in a unified manner across various sectors and in collaboration with the local populace.

Orange Sierra Leone marked Green Environment Week with a grand celebration yesterday, 27th May,2024. The primary objective of the event was to raise awareness about the imperative need to safeguard the environment and the strategies to achieve this goal. Distinguished figures from diverse sectors, company personnel, and members of the media inaugurated the day. A prominent environmental advocate, Mr. A.T. Ali, expounded on environmental protection measures, while the esteemed Minister of Environment delivered a discourse on environmental threats. The day culminated in a spirited debate on the theme “Man: The Ultimate Foe of the Environment.” Overall, the event was a resounding success and undoubtedly influenced our perspectives on our surroundings.

Within the framework of the “Embracing Sustainability” initiative, the significance of environmental health is consistently underscored. It is widely acknowledged that the

preservation of a healthy environment extends beyond the concept of safeguarding the planet. Since the declaration of World Environment Day by the United Nations in 1972, this annual observance has been commemorated on June 5th each year. The focal theme of this year’s Orange Environment Week celebration revolves around the preservation of the earth: “Embracing Sustainability.”

“The world is inundated with plastic. Over 400 million tons of plastic are manufactured annually, with half of this production intended for single-use purposes. Alarmingly, less than 10% of this volume is recycled, leading to an estimated 19-23 million tons being deposited in lakes, rivers, and oceans. Presently, discarded plastic congests our landfills, pollutes the oceans, and emits toxic fumes when incinerated, posing a significant threat to the planet. Moreover, microplastics can infiltrate the food we consume, the water we drink, and even the air we breathe. Many plastic items contain harmful additives that jeopardize human health,” remarked the Minister of Environment in Sierra Leone.

He further elaborated on the profound impact of global environmental changes on human health, including climate change, ozone layer depletion, land degradation, diminished water resources, alterations in ecosystem functionality, and biodiversity loss. Climate change is anticipated to trigger regional extreme weather phenomena, temperature spikes, shifts in precipitation patterns, and rising sea levels. Within the realm of climate change, these phenomena are classified as climate change hazards.

The health ramifications stemming from climate change can manifest directly and indirectly. Direct health impacts may arise from exposure to alterations in weather conditions, encompassing temperature fluctuations, changes in rainfall patterns, sea-level elevations, and heightened frequency of extreme weather events. Indirect effects could result from environmental modifications, such as shifts in environmental quality, including water, air, and food quality, as well as changes in disease-transmitting vectors’ behavior.

“An incremental temperature rise of 2-3⁰ C is projected to escalate the incidence of vector-borne diseases by 3-5%. Elevated temperatures will broaden the distribution of vectors and enhance parasites’ development, rendering them more infectious,” lamented the CEO of Orange Sierra Leone.

He concluded by asserting that alterations in precipitation, coupled with temperature and humidity fluctuations, can either augment or diminish disease vector populations and human interactions with these vectors. Modifications in swamp and mangrove ecosystems could precipitate shifts in disease vector distribution patterns. This underscores the intricate interplay between environmental conditions, wildlife, and human health, as previously discussed.

Concurrently, stratospheric ozone layer depletion heightens the risk of skin cancer, while climate change-induced temperature spikes can elevate surface ozone concentrations, a significant air pollutant linked to respiratory ailments. Biodiversity loss could result in scarcities of medicinal plant resources. Water resource depletion may restrict access to potable water and adequate sanitation, yielding diverse repercussions. Furthermore, climate change may instigate malnutrition due to disruptions in food supplies and harvests, highlighting the nexus between the environment, agricultural produce, and human health.

With regard to air pollution, the World Health Organization (WHO) disclosed that 9 out of 10 individuals globally inhabit environments surpassing WHO air pollution thresholds. WHO statistics indicate that 4.2 million global fatalities annually are attributed to outdoor air pollution, with additional casualties resulting from indoor air pollution.

In conclusion, let us galvanize efforts to safeguard and nurture our environment for the betterment of our current health status and that of future generations.

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