The 2017 United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) has been taking place in Kenya this week.
The theme of the conference was ‘Towards a Pollution-Free Planet’.
The high-level global forum came at a time when air pollution levels are at their highest. There is an urgent need to stop politicising climate change and get serious about implementing mitigative and adaptive measures.
Climate change is a global issue that calls for global solutions.
Although the UN’s initiatives to clean air through UN Framework Conventions on Climate Change Kyoto Protocol (1997), 2015 Paris Agreement and the recent Bonn Conference have been impressive, a lot needs to be done.
The rate at which harmful greenhouse gases are being emitted into the atmosphere is worrying.
Increased population, industrialisation, globalisation and infrastructural development, among other factors, have been blamed but we must now take serious action to fight climate change.
The gases have completely altered the normal functionality of the atmosphere and these disturbances have devastating effects on humanity and climate.
Indeed, research shows that exposure to air pollution damages the ecosystem and can lead to premature deaths and harmful effects to the body system — such as cardiovascular, 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. Regulatory bodies, legislatures and other climate-conscious entities must help the State to achieve this goal.
Policies and regulations of emissions by individuals, industries and equipment such as power plants, cement manufacturers and farmers, among other stakeholders, must be regulated with strictness.
Air pollution research must be given priority because new scientific findings on matters pollutants are key in minimising the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.
Quality air standards must be developed and implemented through legislation.
If that is not the case, Africa will continue to experience the sharper edge of climate change due to its inability to reduce emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere.
We only meet in international conferences but don’t actualise and implement plans to mitigate climate change. We must stop playing hide and seek with climate change because, as it mutates, it will soon extinct humanity from Earth.
Solomon Njenga, Nairobi.
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The ban on plastic bags has earned Kenya global praise as it combats environmental pollution.
The hefty penalties against manufacture, sale, transportation or use of plastic bags has served to deter those who break the law.
Nairobi is the headquarters of the UN Environment Programme (Unep), an honour that puts our country in a unique position to spearhead such initiatives.
Robert Mbeya, Nairobi.
It is through such reforms that we can set example for other countries. Though it seemed too harsh when the ban came into effect, it has changed the narrative as many people have welcomed the initiative as we seek to end this scourge.
Robert Mbeya, Nairobi.