As the world on Monday celebrated Earth Day it was disclosed by the United States of America Ambassador, June Carter Perry during a certification ceremony, that above 2.6 billion which is two and a half billion people in developing countries lack access to proper sanitation and clean drinking water.
“Most people suffer from contracted diarrhoea, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria because they lack access to safe, healthy and clean water,” she noted.
The ambassador echoed that every year over 1.8 million children in developing countries die of diarrhoea which is now classified as the second leading cause of death and diarrhoea strikes five times more children than even HIV/AIDS.
Speaking on the preservation of the environment, Ambassador Perry stated that it was very important that, “we preserve our environment because without proper safe and clean drinking water people get sick.”
She disclosed that now that the world relied on oil for fuel, this had had intense impact on the environment because the increasing demand and cost for oil was seen in the increment of fuel prices for cars and generators.
“To help in the preservation of our environment”, she went on, “the US has engaged in developing strategies which include access to safe water for people all over the world, providing proper sanitation in developing countries, finding alternative sources of energy and similar efforts”.
“The role of Sierra Leoneans in the preservation of the environment is to implement and develop strategy to improve natural resources management and access to clean water as we are committed in helping developing useful methods and policies,” she said.
In his keynote address Dr Raymond Johnson, lecturer at Fourah Bay College, said the earth was indeed sick particularly in the provision of portable water, health and sanitation to inhabitants.
He stressed that they had been trying to raise awareness so that the earth could be preserved not only for now but for posterity.
He added that, “lots of people are dying because they lack access to clean drinking water, and so young boys and girls have to do everything possible to make it work as they have a big challenge to face”.
Giving the criteria for certification Arthur Smith, a lecturer at Fourah Bay College, said this was the second year PEN Sierra Leone in collaboration with the Conservation Society with sponsorship from the US embassy was commemorating this day.
He said for this year 37 schools nationwide took part and that the schools were divided into three categories. Out of these three categories, he noted, they received 60 entries from which shortlisting was done by experts at the US embassy
To mark the day three best pupils in each category received certificates.