Today marks another observance of World Environmental Day. Established by the United Nations, World Environment Day highlights the need to protect the health of our environment. Since 1974, this day has been celebrated annually on June 5.
It is important as it provides an opportunity to involve all stakeholders- civil society, businesses, and governments in preserving and enhancing the environment. This year’s World Environment Day’s theme is biodiversity. Biodiversity is the foundation that supports all life on land and below water. Human actions have accelerated climate change and pushed nature beyond its limit. If we continue on this path, biodiversity loss will have severe implications for humanity, including the collapse of food and health systems.
How healthy is the environment?
In just over a generation, the world has witnessed a 60% decline in wildlife across land, sea, and freshwater and is heading towards a shocking decline by 60% in 2020 if current trends continue.
Scientists say 30% of the disease burden of children is due to environmental factors. The Global Environmental Outlook report proves that the overall condition of the global environment continues to deteriorate, driven mainly by population growth, urbanisation, economic development, technological change, and climate change. Data gathered from the report shows that an estimated 6 to 7 million deaths annually are caused by air pollution. 29% of all lands are now degradation hotspots. There is a likelihood of witnessing the sixth mass species extinction in the planet’s history. Also, 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year because of the mismanagement of domestic waste in the coastal areas. An even sad statistic is that polluted drinking water and inadequate sanitation causes approximately 1.4 million human deaths annually.
These irreversible impacts are mostly yielded from human activities. Environmental policies have played their role but the environmental problems remain complex and require system-oriented efforts at a large scale. Considering the rate at which policies are reversing climate and environmental damage, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement are unlikely to be achieved by 2030.
To achieve global environmental progress, there is a need for collective efforts from all stakeholders. Also, technology can be used in our favour.
Many sectors of society are shifting to renewable energy and more sustainable practices. The digital revolution is helping reduce paperwork hence saving the trees and helping with deforestation. With companies like Uber and Airbnb, fewer people are buying or using cars. Online streaming services are also helping reduce the environmental footprints of the entertainment industry. Also, technology is helping improve environmental monitoring. The use of drones, information systems, etc.
In Myanmar, the government in collaboration with UNDP and Inle Lake Management Authority sought the need for a monitoring system and database to provide a platform for the public to access the socio-economic database of the Inle Lake region and give stakeholders the needed information to develop and conserve the lake.
The Bewsys team was involved in the design and development of the system. Through this system, the Government of Myanmar can sustainably contribute to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), specifically clean water and sanitation, climate action, life below water, and partnership for the goals.
Technology is effective in the fight for a healthy and improved environment. Considering the global crisis the world is facing today, we need to be more intentional about how we live and the daily activities we are involved in.