*This letter was written by Jocelyn Lake, a friend of mine and I felt it deserved space here*
Dear Mr President
Pray tell me exactly what it is you are contributing at the Earth Summit in Brazil when your own country, Zimbabwe is a serious offender on environmental issues. Let me name a few:
-An outdated water system, with rusted pipes which regularly spring leaks which are left unattended for days and sometimes weeks or months resulting in the loss of thousands of litres of precious treated drinking water.
-Drilling of numerous boreholes due to the shortage of municipal water which will lead to huge reductions in groundwater levels.
-Widespread pollution because of littering and burning of garbage, including plastics releasing toxic fumes into the atmosphere.
-Failure to educate the population on environmental matters resulting in the dumping of garbage in open spaces.
-Unreliability of the municipal garbage collection system resulting in mass litter dumps in residential areas and the clogging of road drainage systems in cities.
-Widespread land clearing resulting in the chopping down of precious trees by newly resettled farmers on commercial farming land.
-The chopping down of trees for firewoodas a consequence of regular power outages by your power authority
- The pollution of rivers with effluent because of the inadequate sewage systems in High Density suburbs
These are only a few of the smaller activities which result in the degradation of the environment.
Some of the larger ones include:
-Development and building of residential areas and hotels on precious wetlands.
-Attempts to develop hotels and prospecting for minerals in precious national parks such as Mana Pools which is a World Heritage Site.
As a result, Mr President I am driven to ask why you carried such a huge delegation of 92 to the Rio Earth Summit which cost the Zimbabweans US$7 million. What will that delegation achieve besides increasing the country’s carbon footprint by a significant amount due to the fossil fuels you will burn in the planes transporting you and them? How much more so would you have improved our environment had you invested that money into cleaning up our filthy cities? How much more so would you have improved our environment had you put that money into policing industries that are dumping toxic waste into lakes and rivers? And how much more so would you have improved the state of our environment had you invested that same amount of money into developing environment friendly systems of transportation? Why have you allowed this delegation to come along with you for the ride? Is it because they are passionate about the environment is it just so they can sample the wonderful beaches in Rio de Janeiro!
I hope that by some unlikely chance you read this letter and think deeply on the issues raised herein.