by Yuniey Quiala Armenteros, PhD, Cuba (participant of the 67th International Short Course on Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management)
My name is Yuniey Quiala Armenteros, I am 36 years old, I am Cuban and I work in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba (CITMA), specifically in the Territorial Delegation of the CITMA in Villa Clara, as Principal Specialist of the Environmental Impact Evaluation Team. I am an industrial engineer graduated in 2005, trained at the Central University of Las Villas in Villa Clara Cuba. I always showed interest in professional improvement, as the only way to contribute more to society with concrete and effective solutions to problems. In 2008 I graduated as Master of Science and Innovation Management and in 2012 I started a curricular doctorate in environmental sciences as a result of the collaboration of the Polytechnic University of Valencia of Spain and the Technological University of Havana José Antonio Echeverría. As part of my doctoral training I had to publish several articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals as well as participating in significant international events, and in 2013 I was in Malaysia in a course on clean production and efficient use of resources under the SIRIM institution.
In 2015 I was at CIPSEM at Technische Universität Dresden, participating in the “67th International Short Course on Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management” (SC67) from November 9 to December 11. I had some references of what it means to study in Germany, great engineers of my country were trained in former eastern Germany in the 1970s and 80s. During my stay at CIPSEM, I was surprised above all, how easy teachers explain complex topics, teachers turned difficult into easy, they are wonderful. On the other hand, the practical examples of good environmental performance (landfills, solid and hazardous waste management, liquid waste treatment, wastewater reuse) taught me that it does not require so much capital to achieve
sustainable and sustainable development , it is only about wanting to change the mind of the decision makers. I never thought that the certificate obtained at the end of the course, constituted an endorsement of great relevance for my further career. In short, the contribution of CIPSEM was extraordinary. All the doors opened to me after CIPSEM!
So here is my message for you, whoever you are, please apply to CIPSEM, do not waste your time. I just defended my doctoral thesis on December 21, 2017. Today I am a Doctor of Technical Sciences and I owe it in large part to CIPSEM, please APPLY NOW.
On March 4th this year, in Costa Rica, 24 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean gather to adopt “The Escazu Agrement”. Our region, during the last years, has being characterized by the increasing numbers of people (especially activists) that have been killed for taking action or denouncing the destruction of nature and their habitat, this Agreement is an important step to guarantee people without any kind of discrimination their access rights; the right to information, public participation and justice on environmental matters. Access to information is very important for people in our region in order to understand, evaluate and recognize the important problems that are taking place in their different context, there are many cases that we can sadly remark of people that are trying to fight for justice but have been discredited because the information that’s been published in some cases is not correct and some others the information is not accessible to the public.
Last week “Reaccion Climatica” (Climate Reaction), a collective of volunteers that has being actively participating in the drafting of the Agreement and on its adoption in Costa Rica as representatives of the public, along with the collation TAI-Bolivia (The Access Initiative) and CEDIB (Center of Documentation and information Bolivia) among other organizations, made the Presentation of this Agreement in the University of San Francisco de Asís in the city of La Paz in Bolivia, in an open call to all members of civil society. The presentation did not only had the participation of NGO’s that work in environmental matters but also had the participation of young people and especially of people from indigenous communities who were able to show their concern and fights for nature conservation and show how this Agreement could help them raise awareness of the destruction of not only their homes, but also one the most important protected areas in Bolivia: Madidi National Park that currently is being treat by the constructions of two hydroelectric dams that according to last studies are not economically, socially or sustainably viable. During my participation at CIPSEM in the 73rd International Short Course on Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management (SC73) my fellow colleagues always asked about the dangers and importance of being an activist in my country, I always answered that it is hard work to make people understand the importance of environment in our country, to show people that protecting our natural parks are not only important for the indigenous people that live there but also for everybody as our natural heritage and also that prevention and mitigation of pollution as well as sustainability policies are key and must be addressed in all projects in order to achieve the sustainable development we are trying to reach.
We are aware that there’s a long road ahead for the implementation and accomplishment of the main goal of this Agreement l that is:
“guarantee the full and effective implementation in Latin America and the Caribbean of the rights of access to environmental information, public participation in environmental decision-making processes and access to justice in environmental matters, as well as the creation and strengthening of capacities and cooperation, contributing to the protection of the right of each person, of present and future generations, to live in a healthy environment and to sustainable development”
Nevertheless, we believe this is a big step to protect the protectors of nature and hopefully it will reduce drastically the killing of nature defenders while achieving environmental justice.
by Ms. Analia Mayte Ricaldez Hurtado
Analia Mayte Ricaldez Hurtado is working as a Project Engineer developing Energy Efficiency programs, Environmental Impact Assessments, Environmental Sheets and Environmental Monitoring and inspections in TECAP Global Solutions S.R.L in La Paz Bolivia. She is also involved in occupational health and safety for the company’s laboratory and designing the process and procedures to prevent its environmental impact. Analia assists and analyzes services of environmental risk and other services which could give easy solutions to their clients in the private and public sector and in all production activities (mining, oil and gas, industrial, etc.). She also completed a training of sustainability in the supply chain in Brazil in 2013 and received a Diploma in Energy Efficiency in Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago. She applied for UNEP/UNESCO/BMU course program to add and change her perspective in sustainability and resource efficiency and to be able to develop and apply this important topic in her country. Analia participated in volunteering as a teacher for children in small schools in environmental education with The Coca Cola Company and currently in a volunteering collective “Reaccion Climatica” for the diffusion and promoting participation of the population in climate change problems in Bolivia.
To better water protection
written by Liu Zhuo
There are numerous rivers and lakes in China, including a total of 45,203 rivers with a catchment area above 500,000 square kilometers and 2,865 natural lakes with a perennial surface area above one square kilometer.
China has a long history of water control and management. In ancient times, the administrators appointed special officials in charge of river affairs. During the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) governor of Shu prefecture, Li Bing ordered the building of the Dujiangyan Irrigation System in today’s Sichuan province in Southwest China, which is a famous example of water conservancy and could be regarded as the precursor of the river chief system.
Dujiangyan irrigation system
With the rapid economic and social development, some new issues have occurred in management and protection of rivers and lakes in China: the emissions of pollutants into rivers and lakes remain high in some areas, while encroachment of river courses, reclamation of lakes and illegal sand mining often occur in some places.
To solve the problems, in some areas, government leaders at the four levels – province, prefecture, county and township – serve as river chiefs, and the province level is led by general river chiefs, to manage, protect and govern rivers through inter-agency coordination and cooperation.
On the basis of the practice of some provinces/autonomous regions/municipalities in the last ten years, in December 2016, the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council promulgated the opinions on the All-Around Implementation of the River Chief System. By the end of 2018, the River Chief System will be implemented all around for rivers and lakes nationwide, with providing an institutional guarantee to maintain the healthy life of rivers and lakes and to achieve their sustainable use.
The river chief system today is a management system for rivers and lakes and is linked to the accountability system of environmental protection and performance evaluations of top officials. River Chief is the first person responsible for river management, and his/her main duty is to urge the river chiefs at the lower level and relevant agencies to complete the ecological protection tasks of rivers and to coordinate to solve major issues in river protection and management.
written by Alfred Ahimbisibwe
Kigezi is a beautiful region of Uganda also known as the Switzerland of Uganda due to its high mountains and cold conditions. It is a densely populated region with a population density of 314 persons/km2. It has an annual food crop agricultural system where farmers open up gardens every rainy season to grow their crops. Unlike other mountainous areas of Uganda, the hills of Kigezi have deep soils suitable for crop production, nature’s special gift to the people. The hills are terraced as mitigation against severe soil erosion.
Rapid population growth has increased pressure on land and families have heavily fragmented their land by subdividing their holdings. This has led to continuous cropping and with intense rains as a result of climate change, soil erosion from these agricultural areas has reached alarming levels. Farmers lose their crops, livestock, lands and property and in worst cases, lives are lost as people are washed away by landslides. Also, as a result, rivers are heavily silted and their waters unsuitable for household use.
Concerted effort is therefore needed to control the rate of soil erosion and restore these hillsides into the productive areas they were not long ago. The interventions available require the participation of every landowner to be effective, and this is a huge task to get everybody to participate. Investment in engineering structures of the steeper hills is also required, and this necessitates external support because the communities cannot afford the costs of establishment of these structures.
What was previously viewed as an exceptional gift by nature, now is a cause for worry for people who live in these highlands. Whenever the rainy season starts, it becomes a matter of when the heavy rains will sweep away the fields. Is Kigezi now ungifted by nature?
Picture 1: Cultivation extends to the top of the hills (Photo Credit: World Agroforestry Centre)
Picture 2: Excessive soil erosion in Kabale District (Photo Credit: Uganda Red Cross)
During our seminar participants from EM41 created a short video with important statements. Here it is:
And here is a short Video statement from Franciska Malembeka about Wildlife conservation in Tanzania:
written by Dhruv Verma
Once known for its rich cultural heritage and diversity, New Delhi, the capital city of India has now earned an unenviable acclamation of being one of the world’s most air polluted city.
Air pollution has always been a problem in cities, since modern era industrialization. The Donora smog disaster (1948) and the London killer fog (1952) are few of the infamous anthropogenic hazards. In New Delhi, being the center of the nation having thrust on economic development, policies and a framework governing the state of the environment became trivial. Recently, in the city the problem of air pollution escalated due to cumulative impacts of traffic menace, large-scale construction, industrial emissions, insufficient public infrastructure and crop residue burning in neighboring provinces. In winter season, it worsens because of stagnant winds, fog and firecrackers burning. In 2017, the city and its surrounding areas cripple under a thick film of smog as the air quality readings were recorded 30 times of the World Health Organization’s recommended safe level. Burning sensation in eyes, headache and sore throat are few of the ill effects of air pollution. It was reported that breathing in the city is equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day. The air quality deteriorated to such an extent that government declared a public health emergency and asked vulnerable people to avoid coming out of their houses and use pollution masks like N95.
So, what is the solution? Pollution is not a matter of air and environment only, it is a matter of fundamental rights and wellbeing of citizens and national pride. Hence the role of policy makers, judiciary, industries, technical institutions, civil agencies, non-environmental sectors and involvement of people in addressing the problem is crucial. Besides strict implementation of environmental rules and regulations, education and self-driven responsibility to protect the environment is equally important to address this over-arching problem.