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C.Town marks World Environment Day

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Everybody needs to give greater consideration to combating climate change, says Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille.

In a statement marking World Environment Day on Monday, De Lille said this day was all the more important this year in Cape Town because of the severe drought crisis the city was facing following unusually low levels of rainfall.

“And we need to fundamentally change our relationship with water and the environment as a whole. In Cape Town specifically, we need to have a greater understanding of our behaviour towards this scarce resource. Water is life and we can only save water while there is still water to be saved.”

De Lille said: “With drought as the new normal, we have to break out of the old ways of doing things in order to protect our city’s sustainability.”

“The theme for World Environment Day this year was “connecting people to nature”, which was particularly appropriate because it was the loss of this connection “that makes us forget that we need the environment in order to survive. We forget that we cannot continue to abuse it and expect something in return,” she said.

“One of the priorities of our organisational development and transformation plan is resource efficiency and security and we are changing the way we do things to better realise that. We hope residents will join with us by changing their own lives as well. These can be simple changes – from saving water and reusing grey water, to recycling, to using sustainable building materials.”

“Sustainability is one of the foundation stones of development and every major decision we face as a city government should begin its assessment by asking what is in the best interests of the city according to a balance of needs,” she said.

Cape Town faced the challenges of a fast-growing population, with the highest urbanisation rate in the country.

Every person should have access to opportunity, progress, social equality, dignity, and respect – but against a backdrop of limited and dwindling natural resources, these aspirations needed to be met in a manner which did not deplete Cape Town’s natural capital.

The city was committed to ensuring that everything it did was done sustainably. Sustainability referred to having enough for everyone forever, therefore being able to cater for the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.

The city also reaffirmed its call for greater collective climate action to implement the Paris Agreement, De Lille said.

Last November, she had signed the C40 Mayors collective statement which included the following: “As mayors and climate leaders, we see every day the scale of the threat posed by climate change and the impact that it has on the lives of our residents.

Gradual change and incremental reforms to energy markets, transport systems, and recycling rates are no longer enough.

Every resident, business leader, president, prime minister, and mayor must seize this moment to transform our cities. By doing that, we can transform our world.”

[Source: SABC]
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