THE importance of having a clean environment around us is not a matter for debate because the consequences of having a filthy environment are too serious to even contemplate.
Unnecessary littering from moving motor vehicles, answering the call of nature from undesignated areas and throwing garbage in drainages are some of the examples that have become common in our societies or communities.
Another example is the dirt that comes from street vending right in the centre of major cities where garbage collection is almost non-existent.
Of course, the main danger in all this is the diseases that come with filthy surroundings that include cholera, dysentery, etc.
These are killer diseases and if not properly checked, can cause havoc to the citizens.
That is why the World Earth Day that was observed yesterday around the world cannot come at a better time than when environmental degradation is the order of the day.
A clean environment is not only desirable to the current generation but also to the future generation of the young people that are yet to grow.
The theme of this year's Earth Day, Alternative Green Energy Sources is well placed as it emphasises the importance of keeping our environment green and clean.
Like United States ambassador to Zambia Mark Storella quoted a native American proverb that says "we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children," it is important to always think of how the environment would be in future if we continue degrading it now.
The envoy correctly sums it up by saying Earth Day encourages individuals to save the environment for future generations.
Littering has become one of the major constraints in trying to protect the environment and it is for this reason that local authorities should enforce the by-laws that prohibit littering.
Through their health departments, local authorities have a duty to ensure the environment is protected and citizens play their role in this whole process.
The Zambia Environmental Management Authority (ZEMA) also has a big role to play to ensure the environment is well kempt and protected as it is backed by an Act of Parliament.
The Earth Day comes once a year and it is paramount that Zambians observe this day on a daily basis so that the country is always a step ahead when the actual day is observed.
A clean environment is what we should all aspire to achieve if we are not to be judged harshly by posterity.