THE World Environment Day is held each year on June 5. This year the theme of World Environment Day 2020 was “Celebrate Biodiversity”.
“With 1 million species facing extinction, there has never been a more important time to focus on biodiversity.”
“The food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature.”
“To care for ourselves we must care for nature”. These are some of the clauses dressing up the theme for World Environment Day 2020.
To walk the theme Tanzanian government has set National Environmental Policy with the overall objectives, inter alia, to ensure sustainable and equitable use of resources without degrading the environment or risking health or safety; To prevent and control degradation of land, water, vegetation, and air which constitute the essential life support systems.
Notable strategies that have been adopted to achieve those objectives include forest conservation and tree planting campaign.
Since the implementers of the policy are the people, it follows that the Local Government Authorities (LGAs) are the key translators.
The LGAs are the closest form of government to the people. This means that people get a better understanding of any policy from the LGAs. LGAs demystify the authority, directives and policies from the central government.
So, what is expected of LGAs in as far as environmental conservation is concerned?
The LGAs should help the communities within their jurisdiction in identifying the areas to be conserved like water sources (lakes, rivers, streams, wells etc) and natural forest.
Clean fresh water is a precious liquid which the world is running out of at an alarming rate.
It is said the next big war in the future will involve water as a bone of contention. These words are becoming more prophetic than proverbial. Natural forest is also very important in conserving biodiversity. It is also important to notice that forests are the lungs that clean our mother earth’s polluted air.
Moreover, the LGAs are expected to create awareness among the communities on the importance of environment conservation.
Awareness creation will make the communities own the environment conservation agendum. The LGAs should exhaust every forum available including meeting to educate the people on how environment conservation is directly linked to their wellbeing and indeed, to their lives.
The LGAs should also help communities appreciate the value of indigenous knowledge (IK) on climate and weather.
Our communities have used traditional knowledge to understand weather and climate patterns in order to make decisions about crop production cycles.
The blend between IK with the modern and scientific methods will help make our communities resilient to the impact of climate change.
If every one plays their role we can serve our mother earth.
@Hagai Mwakisisya is an Assistant Lecturer at Local Government Training Institute, Hombolo, Dodoma.