“Hearty congratulations to the government of Tanzania for implementing the ban on plastic bags. The development partners group on environment stand ready to continue supporting these efforts,” said Julia Hannig, the representative of development partners on environment during commemoration of the World Environment Day cycling event held at the Mnazi Mmoja grounds in Dar es Salaam.
The cycling event attracted more than 200 cyclers and representatives from UN agencies, the development partners group on environment, civil society, city council officials, philanthropists, youth and private sector entities.
Haning noted that Tanzania has also committed itself to reducing the use of charcoal, the main indoor polluter and cause of over 20,000 deaths per year.
“Many development partners are supporting these efforts and hope that reusing and recycling through improved waste management will be given more attention in the coming days, especially in Dar es Salaam where most of the country’s waste is produced,” she said.
This year’s global theme for World Environment Day—‘Beat air pollution’ is in-line with the government’s ban of single use carrier bags.
“Seven days down the road, the government is quite impressed with the levels of compliance and response from the private sector and public as a whole towards the ban of plastic bags,” said the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Vice President’s Office, Ambassador Joseph Sokoine in his remarks at the same event.
Ambassador Sokoine stated that riding bicycles is a way to remind people on the responsibility to curb greenhouse gas emissions and combating plastic pollution.
He said the government made several interventions over the past 15 years to address environmental pollution.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Alvaro Rodriguez recognized the strides the government has already made on tackling air pollution, congratulating the current ban of plastic bags and the disposal of plastic bags which can contribute to the challenge of air pollution, beside affecting the marine environment.
The UN leader in Tanzania affirmed that tackling air pollution helps to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases as well as improving people’s health.
“Fulfilling the right to breathe clean air goes hand in hand with achieving Sustainable Development Goals including healthy lives for all, sustainable cities, universal access to clean energy and effective action to address climate change,” he said.
Tanzania is among 155 countries adapting the UN Convention which recognizes a healthy environment as a constitutional right, he said, urging that people to play their part towards eliminating dangerous pollutants that cost lives and weaken the planet’s life systems every day.
Representatives from the civil society organization championing climate change matters, The Forum for Climate Change-Forum CC, requested the VPO and municipal authorities to support cycling through providing an enabling environment for cyclers to pass on such as service roads for bicycles.
During the event, the UN Environment Representative in Tanzania, Clara Makenya and the chairperson of the Tanzania Bicycle Association jointly awarded special reusable glass water bottles that are promoted to end plastic waste pollution, to the guests and children.
However, each of the participants was given a cycling helmet and a reflector jacket with key messages to remind those around them on ending plastic pollution.
Two young girls who were accompanied by their parents, Wendy and Nicole Magila said they were happy to participate in the event, “although we are tired but we want to make this world a better place for children like us.”
The city executive director, Rebecca Liana and two deputy mayors who also cycled attended the event.
Other participants were from the Tanzania Bicycle Association (CHABATA).
Organizers of the World Environment Day Cycling event include the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the Bicycle Association of Tanzania, ythe World Health Organization, the UN Information Centre, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), Forum CC, the World Bank youth programme, Youth of United Nations Association, philanthropists from the Lions Club, the Tanzania Private sector including Knight Support and Kisima Water Company.
The World Environment Day is the UN day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect the environment. It has been commemorated on the 5th of June since 1974 in over 100 countries.