World Environment Day, ECESR calls on the Egyptian Government to implement stricter policies to reduce plastic and carbon emissions and stop the encroachment on green spaces
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World Environment Day, ECESR calls on the Egyptian Government to implement stricter policies to reduce plastic and carbon emissions and stop the encroachment on green spaces

Arabic version

On June 5 of each year, world celebrates World Environment Day which Côte d’Ivoire is hosting its activities in 2023 to shed light on urgent environmental challenges, and ways to address them, as it’s subject focuses on sustainable solutions to plastic pollution in the framework of Beat Plastic Pollution Campaign.

It wasn’t in the thoughts of the inventors of plastic, which had been considered a revolution in the world of industry at this time, that it would be one of the causes of destroying our Planet, a major contributor in pollution and affecting climate, as it is considered indestructible and resisting degradation, unlike other synthetic materials.

Plastic materials is chocking the Planet by producing more than 400 million tons every year, half of which are designed to single usage only, while less than 10% is recycled. An estimated 19 to 23 million tons end up in lakes, rivers, seas and oceans, according to the United Nations. In these days, plastic materials impede landfills and is plaguing oceans, in addition to turning into toxic smoke, making it one of the most dangerous threats to Earth.

Moreover, micro plastic particles find its way to our food water and even air. Several plastic products contain dangerous subsidiaries which may pose a serious threat to health. In addition, it is estimated that each person is consuming more than 500 thousand plastic particles annually, and perhaps much more in case we count plastic particles in the air.

Plastics which are discarded or burnt harm humans’ health and biodiversity as they pollute every ecosystem from the summits of mountains to sea-beds which calls for the necessity of adopting urgent solutions to stop their use before causing more damages to the Planet, its inhabitants and environment.

In March 2022, States’ Presidents, Environment Ministers and other representatives from 175 Countries agreed on a historical resolution during the 5th Session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) to end plastic pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement by the end of 2024 which reflects various alternatives to address the full life cycle of plastics, products designs and recycled materials.

ECESR welcomes the announcement of a national strategy issued by the Egyptian government that aims at reducing the negative effect of plastic on health, environment, economy and society, in addition to its aspiration to reduce the consumption of plastic bags to 100 bags per person by 2025 and 50 bags per person by 2030, together with launching a national strategy on Climate Change 2050. Moreover, ECESR recalls the grave dangers which threaten life in Egypt as a result of practices against Environment.

ECESR calls on the responsible authorities to take stricter policies to beat plastic pollution, reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the negative effects linked to Climate Change, in addition to accelerating efforts towards a gradual reduction in the usage of coal and the abolition of enhancing fossil fuels.

Moreover, the Center warns of the seriousness of Climate Change repercussions on economic and social rights in a number of sectors, including: Health, industry, agriculture, transport, marine activities, and others, in addition to its effects on workers in these sectors, which calls for the necessity of an urgent action to combat its effects and facilitate litigation procedures in cases related to environmental rights.

ECESR affirms the necessity to tighten mechanisms on Marine Conservations, the protection of Nile River, air and soil from pollution, in addition to stopping encroachments on green spaces and declaring a clear scheduled plan to expand its area, given its great importance to protect human life generally. According to a study by the Spanish University of Pompeu Fabra (UPF), planting more trees in cities could cut deaths from summer heat by 30%.

Based on our belief regarding the necessity to an urgent action to combat the negative impacts of Climate Change, and the priority for environment protection cases in this critical period, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) was keen on launching a campaign called “Safety Track- the Road to COP27) before and during the Climate Conference in Egypt.

The Center issued several research papers and reports on environment, including topics regarding the protection of marine environment, air, and soil from pollution, in addition to subjects concerning ways through which citizens could report environmental problems to the competent bodies.

One of the most prominent reports and subjects presented by ECESR is Green Hydrogen and the importance of its use, and the global direction towards it as a clean energy that doesn’t pollute environment, and the warning from the danger of oil spills in seas, together with its destructive impact on marine organisms.

In another report, the Center tackles the importance of planting Mangrove to mitigate the negative effects of Climate Change and to protect beaches from erosion, and support economy through benefiting from it.

Moreover, ECESR issued a research paper entitled “ Studying the legislative regulation of some hazardous industries and the legal protection established to limit its environmental impacts”, through which the Center presented legislative recommendations, including the commitments to engage in a societal discussion before licensing the establishment of factories which carry out hazardous industrial activities on the surrounding environment, tightening the penalties in the Environment Law to reach the closure of the facility, tightening control over violators, completely prohibiting the establishment of industrial facilities inside residential areas as stipulated in Law. Moreover, expanding the usage of clean energy, recycling hazardous waste, preparing a database of monitored wastes and making it available to researchers.

The Center prepared a report on carbon bonds and their importance in reducing environmental pollution by factories’ wastes. Moreover, ECESR discussed the pollution of the means of transport to the Environment, and presented several suggestions to solve this problem, in addition to addressing the danger of shark attack due to overfishing in the Red Sea which threatens marine and human life.

Moreover, the Center presented some cases filed by its lawyers to prevent the pollution in the Nile River and environment. Furthermore, ECESR presented the developments of the case of the people of Al-Awn villages in Aswan, and their demands to restore their wasted rights, as people helped increasing green area and creating healthy environment. They are still calling on the government to fulfill its pledges in providing services to them.

The campaign focused on axes which aimed at contributing in combating negative effects resulted from Climate Change and its effects on economic and social rights especially in Egypt that is considered one of the most countries exposed to risks resulting from these effects, and calling for taking decisive mechanisms and measures to reduce them.

The first axis of the campaign included Climate Change effects and its repercussions on economic and social rights in a number of sectors, including: Health, industry, agriculture, transport, marine activities, and others, in addition to its effects on workers in these sectors.

As for the second axis, it discussed litigation procedures in cases related to environmental rights in light of the Government’s commitments to its pledges concerning international covenants and treaties which it signed. The third axis of the campaign tackles the Government’s commitments to reduce carbon emissions which is considered the main axis of the Conference.

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights asserts its continuity in providing support to environmental cases through the Environmental Justice Unit. Moreover, ECESR will continue receiving inquiries and complaints, together with providing legal support in cases and complaints related to environmental rights, indicating that COP27 was a step on the way, and the defending environment will continue as long as environmental problems remain unsolved.

 

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