Ghanaian environmental group, the Climate, Livelihoods & Agriculture Platform (CLAP GH), has reiterated the need for attention to be given to protecting the environment to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
In commemoration of World Environment Day 2020, the group is encouraging individual and group tree planting drives for a clean and healthy environment to fight pollution and diseases.
About one quarter of global disease is linked to the environment or caused by environmental factors that could be changed, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The environment influences health through the air we breathe, the water we drink, radiation and noise, the work environment, and the climate and ecosystem.
Polluted air causes respiratory diseases; unclean water and lacking sanitation causes diarrhoea; poorly managed water bodies cause vector diseases such as malaria.
The WHO says more than 3.5 million deaths each year are from respiratory infections, diarrhoea disease and malaria alone.
Often the practice has been to wait for diseases to happen before resources are deployed for treatment afterwards.
Living Clean, Green and Healthy
Scientists have observed that taking care of the environment and keeping it clean directly affects the health of the environment we live in.
Interventions that will help develop a better and cleaner air, clean and safe water, is critical to promote good health.
CLAP GH is constituted to build synergy along the science, environment and agriculture nexus to drive a common goal of addressing climate change for sustainable development.
“We believe that in as much as the global economies are being disrupted, health systems and people being affected, there is the need for us as individuals to think about how we need to be clean and cater for the environment as part of the actions to bring this coronavirus to a halt,” said environmentalist, Kofi Adu Domfeh, who is convener of CLAP GH.
“While we are fighting Coronavirus in the short term, climate change is for the long term, and the actions we are taking to mitigate and adapt should be more focused even at this time than ever before”.
The call is to ensure a clean and healthy environment which is very crucial to curtail most of the things that help the virus to grow.
Climate scientist at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Professor Isaac K. Tetteh, admonishes the society to be mindful of actions that might pollute the environment.
He emphasises the importance for every individual helping to manage the micro-environment because poor environmental quality makes the society susceptible to many diseases.
“Poor environmental quality can make us highly susceptible to many diseases in the environment. We need to look at our environment and keep it clean so that we don’t become vulnerable to the COVID-19 and other diseases, so we can enjoy infection-free environment,” said Professor Tetteh.
In the face of the COVID-19, the little we can do at the individual level in protecting the environment is attitudinal change towards the environment.
“We must adhere to strict etiquette [no spitting around] and coughing freely into the air, and indiscriminate nasal discharges around. This ‘normal’ practice in Ghana contributes much to polluting the environment,” he noted.
Planting Coronavirus Trees
Healthy environments are the key for better health. Policy makers are expected to take decisions and actions to protect the environment.
CLAP GH is however calling on individuals and groups to endeavour to plant trees in commemoration of World Environment Day as contribution to promote an infection-free environment.
The “Coronavirus Tree Planting” campaign is to encourage collective actions to protect the environment even as the planet survives this pandemic.
CLAP GH believes the world must not lose sight of the need to take collective action on climate adaptation and mitigation.
The environmental group mobilises young professionals to become part of the momentum created by the Paris Agreement on climate change to partner all interest groups to share knowledge and take action.