What you need to know:
- South Sudan, with its limited industry and cars, can’t be listed as a major polluter.
- Black plastic bags wave from the windy roadside in the capital and the other towns.
A mother wading through flood water so high it touches the feet of the toddler she is carrying while searching for dry land for the family. The images coming out of a flooded Jonglei State in South Sudan are stark reminders that we must act now to reduce the effects of climate change and work together for a cleaner future.
The mighty River Nile went over its banks also this year. Since 1970, the world has seen more floods than ever and the temperature has increased.
Areas that would normally be dry are wet and crops rotting, causing famines. For a country largely relying on agriculture, like South Sudan, this is catastrophic.
Climate change is caused by emissions of toxic fumes over a long time. South Sudan, with its limited industry and cars, can’t be listed as a major polluter. Nonetheless, large-scale cutting of trees for firewood and burning of charcoal has left the population vulnerable.
Trees are like green filters, turning carbon dioxide to oxygen, but every day there are less of them. Trees also hold the ground together with their widespread roots as the rain hits hard. Now, landslides are taking houses, farms and lives.
Lack of waste management is evident. Black plastic bags wave from the windy roadside in the capital and the other towns.
Most people burn trash, producing toxic smoke that are inhaled by residents, a dangerous addition for children in a country where pneumonia is rife. Trash gets into water sources, contaminating them and making people sick.
Climate change and environmental issues can sometimes feel like problems too big to be solved. This is why Mother Earth needs us to do our part.
First, acknowledge that these changes and challenges are real and don’t fertilise doubt. Secondly, raise awareness. Only when you know you can act.
Governments should include environmental issues into the school curriculum. The future leaders of this country must be equipped with knowledge.
Challenges are real
We need everyone to take action in their communities, stop dropping trash, protect water sources from waste and ensure bins are used. Trash should be collected regularly and, if possible, recycled.
We need people to stop cutting trees and find alternatives to charcoal and firewood. We need the government to step up the electrification of the country and help people to take advantage of the enormous resource that is the sun through solar power. Let’s plant more trees to regain the green lungs.
We urge all community leaders to take action and lead by example and encourage everyone to do the same. We urge the government to step up its efforts in supporting the citizens to live greener lives.
To all the children, we urge you to raise your voices and make sure your cries are heard. The earth is ours all and we, too, can cause change.