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Global environment forum opens in Kenya with a call to combat pollution

by Christine Lagat

NAIROBI, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The third United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3) opened in Nairobi on Monday with delegates renewing call for collective efforts to tackle pollution.

The theme of this year's global environment event, "Towards a Pollution-Free Planet," seeks to rally governments, industry and civil society to support innovative waste management measures.

Delegates attending the three-day global environment assembly will discuss a raft of policy and technology based interventions to reduce the menace of pollution.

Edgar Gutierrez, President of UNEA3 and Costa Rican Minister for Environment and Energy, said that policymakers, industry leaders and grassroots campaigners are united in their resolve to find durable solution to the global pollution crisis.

"Everyone is affected by pollution and our collective goal is to reduce it through science-based interventions," Gutierrez said, adding that political goodwill is required to tackle pollution menace.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the assembly, Judi Wakhungu, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, said "as we strive to develop and provide better services to our citizens, pollution has equally increased. It is time the world addressed this challenge without delay."

"We all appreciate that a pollution free planet cannot be achieved in isolation, a strong reason for us to work together on the matter," Wakhungu said.

She reaffirmed Kenya's support for multilateral initiatives aimed at revitalizing war on pollution that is to blame for ecosystems depletion and a higher disease burden among poor communities.

Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment (UNEP), said that a vision for a pollution free planet can be achieved if key stakeholders step up their contribution.

"There are huge benefits if we fight pollution and they include creation of jobs and human health. We need to put pressure on politicians and business leaders to act on pollution," Solheim said.

Ministers for environment, captains of industry, members of academia and civil society are expected to endorse sweeping measures to rejuvenate the fight against pollution at the end of the three day global environment assembly.


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