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Opinion & Analysis

LETTER: World must tackle effects of climate change

A petrol products refinery emits toxic smoke. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A petrol products refinery emits toxic smoke. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The main theme of the just-ended Third UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi was towards a pollution-free planet. The conference came at a time when the air we breathe is being adulterated by different players.

There is an urgent need to stop politics on climate change and get to serious business of implementing mitigative and adaptive measures to climate change.

Climate change is a global issue that needs global solutions and though theUN’s initiatives to clean air through UN Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Kyoto Protocol (1997), Paris Agreement (2015) and the recent Bonn Conference (2017) have been impressive, a lot more needs to be done.

The rate at which the harmful greenhouse gases (GHGs) are emitted into the atmosphere is worrying. Increased population, industrialisation, globalisation and infrastructural development among other factors have been blamed but we must fight this scourge called climate change.

The gases have completely altered the normal functionality of the atmosphere and these disturbances have consequently leaked many other dysfunctional and devastating effects, direct or indirectly to the atmosphere, to humanity and to the climate.

Indeed, extensive body of scientific research has shown evidence that long and/or short-term exposure to air pollution damage ecosystem, environmental degradation and can lead to premature death and harmful effects to the body system like cardiovascular system respiratory and other health complications.

It is therefore important for a serious government to put measures to mitigate and/or adapt to these climate change factors that continues to haunt humanity in the 21st century.

Regulatory bodies, legislatures and other climate conscious entities must help the state to meeting standards to common pollutant by issuing national policies and standards on emissions for new and old motor machinery that are high in emitting fossil fuel and carbon that depletes the atmosphere.

Policies and regulations of emissions by individuals, industries and equipment like power plants, cement manufacturers, farmers among other stakeholders must be regulated with strictness and sincerity required.

Air pollution research must be given a priority because newest scientific findings on matters pollutants are key in minimising the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.

Quality air standards must be developed and implement through legislative avenues. Policies e.g. on fine particle pollution, ground level ozone pollution and sulfur dioxide emissions must be reviewed and/or evaluated to suit the current climate change mitigation and adaptation approaches.

Meanwhile, Africa will continue to experience the sharper edge of climate change due to her inability to reduce emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere.

We only meet in international conferences, but we don’t actualise and implement plans to mitigating climate change. We must stop playing hide and seek game with climate change.

Dr. Solomon Njenga, climate change scientist and conservationist

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It’s time to walk the talk on environmental conservation

In our Science class from primary to high school, we were taught about the effects of pollution and the possible solutions. Depending on where you went to school, it was a mandatory requirement to tend to the school compound.

Planting trees and dropping our waste in dustbins as part of keeping the environment clean was our daily dose of learning.

Where then did we miss the mark in management of pollution? Why is it difficult to dump empty water bottles in bins? Save for the ugliness the plastics spew, it is disgusting to see cattle eating trash strewn on the roads- the very same beef we shall eat with ugali.

When did we become so lazy as to point the finger at the county government, which has presumably hired people to clean up after our mess? We have choked our world we can’t even breath.

The ban on plastic bags has been applauded by top global policy makers who converged on Nairobi for the United Nations Environment Assembly in Gigiri.

The move to ban plastics brought us one step closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals that touch on the environment.

I sincerely hope that the conference will offer fool proof conservation measures to last a lifetime. Let us turn our focus to air pollution and global warming.

My wish is that the county governments will walk the talk with conservation and recycling measures.

Emily Manjeru, head of communications, Arimus Media Limited.

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