23 February 2012

Zambia: Luo Warns of Climate Change Effects

THE Government has warned of devastating climate change consequences if Zambians do not get involved in protecting the environment around them.

Local Government Housing, Early Childhood Education and Environmental Protection minister Nkandu Luo said the business community was more concerned in expanding enterprises with less attention to the harm that the businesses were causing to the environment.

Prof. Luo said this when she launched the 2010 Human Rights and Environmental Report at Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka yesterday.

She said there was need to discuss methods being used to conduct business and not only concentrating on making profit and food security.

She cited deforestation that had occurred in Southern and Eastern provinces in the previous years as some of the consequences of not paying much attention to issues of climate change.

The minister said the rain pattern had been affected consequently reducing food production in the two provinces.

"History is repeating itself if you look at areas along Great North Road like Mkushi where farming is now concentrated, you notice the level of deforestation that is taking place in this area.

"We have not learnt a lesson that deforestation causes difficulties in the whether patterns," she said.

Prof. Luo noted that the mining industry was seriously causing havoc to the environment leading to serious problems.

She cited the emissions from Mopani Copper Mine (MCM) which had seriously affected the lives of the people in Kankoyo Township in Mufulira

"Nothing grows in Kankoyo because of the sulphur dioxide being released from the mine, you can imagine the effect these gases have on the people that stay in this area," she said.

She said Charcoal burning and illegal disposal of garbage was another problem of environmental degradation.

Human Rights Commission (HRC) Chairperson Pixie Yangailo expressed concern at the level of pollution that the mining companies were emitting thereby affecting the environment and human lives.

Ms Yangailo said the failure to address the environmental damages that were caused through pollution, deforestation and degradation would result in depriving humans of the basic rights to life, clean air, and safe water.

She said the human rights report has revealed that the phenomenon was also found in other sectors such as agriculture, timber processing and tourism sector.

The negative impact of economic activities had become a matter of both human rights and environmental concern.

Ms Yangailo said addressing the challenges required collective efforts of the Government, civil society and the private sector in finding sustainable solution.

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