World Ozone Day road show brought over to Praslin |27 September 2022
After much success on Mahé, the Ozone Unit of the Climate Change division within the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment (MACCE) in collaboration with the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) brought to Praslin a similar version of the road show in commemoration of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer also known as World Ozone Day.
Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, the World Ozone Day is celebrated internationally on September 16. This year marks the 35th anniversary since effort started to protect the Ozone Layer in 1987, by the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Our small island state’s effort continued in 2019 when Seychelles ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for the ‘Phase down of Hydro Fluoro Carbons (HFCs) which are potent, harmful greenhouse gases (GHGs).
The ozone layer is a region of Earth's stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation and prevents it from reaching the Earth’s surface. Without it, the heavy ultraviolet radiation can cause destructive damages to human life as well as the environment.
The road show, which took place under the slogan ‘Common goal towards the protection of natural environment through sustainable practices’, aimed to spread awareness among the population about the depletion of the Ozone Layer and how we can each ensure that we do our part in preserving it as well as encourage local food production.
Various participants were present at the Pension Fund building on Praslin for the event and that included the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), Seychelles Meteorological Authority, the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC), GEF UNDP, Terrestrial Restoration Action Society Seychelles (TRASS), Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency (SFRSA), farmers, local businesses and entrepreneurs displaying local products. Each were depicting best practices on how best we can protect the ozone layer by our simple actions.
It was the Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Flavien Joubert, in the presence of invited guests and participants, who officially opened the event.
Minister Joubert expressed that the road show is an opportunity to share information and promote sustainable practices and ideas.
He also highlighted the importance of farmers and other individuals practicing agriculture and horticulture in the road show.
He shared the valuable contribution these individuals make to our economy and reminded those present how the depletion of the ozone layer also affects our food production.
“Today, we appreciate the fact that we are able to bring this road show to Praslin. It is important that we join the Praslinois community, especially the students, and see how we can collectively join our efforts to help protect our ozone layer, our environment and life on Earth generally.”
“Each individual can and should play their role in helping to reduce the emission of substances that are harmful to our ozone layer as well as protect themselves from the harmful effects of ultra violet (UV) radiation.”
Finally Minister Joubert thanked all stakeholders for their effort in coming together for this event with special mention to the students and their teachers.
He congratulated them for their enthusiasm and encouraged the students to keep up the positive attitude towards their environment which portrays a promising future for its protection.
During the ceremony, 13 individuals from SFRSA, SIF, MACCE and district volunteers who had participated in a forest fire fighting training earlier received their certificates of attendance. The training, which was organised by GEF UNDP, Ridge to Reef Project and SFRSA, is part of ongoing effort to be better prepared for any cases of forest fires on the island.
To note that fires are the main threat to the unique forest ecosystems on Praslin, and the long and harsh drought periods intensified by climate change increases the risks of their occurrences, as well as their intensity once alight.
SFRSA was also displaying their forest fire fighting equipment in the playing field opposite the Pension Fund Building. It aimed to showcase how forest fire fighting can move from the conventional methods of using sea water which often cause harmful effect on the plants of the forest ecosystem with newly acquired knowledge and equipment.
Fresh water collecting tanks can now be created in the forest which can be used to fight fires and ensure better protection of plants during fire fighting especially our endemic palms predominantly scattered over Praslin’s forests. Up to date a total of 70 individuals from various sections on the island have been trained and are ready for any unlikely forest fire that may occur.
The show also highlighted natural refrigerants that can be used in cooling systems and help reduce global warming gases, promote energy efficient equipment and sustainable practices which are environmentally‐friendly and ozone‐friendly and achieve better social, economic and environmental benefits that will help the fight against global warming that cause climate change.
It provided the opportunity for the public to have hands on feel of the technology options and their techno-economic viabilities to support the new climate variability and adaptation, through various household equipment that were on display and on special promotion.
When asked about his impression of the turnout, Minister Joubert had this to share:
“We are very satisfied with the turnout on Praslin. Today we see many students from Praslin and La Digue who have joined us, many individuals promoting local products like spices, meat, flowers, medicinal products and others. There is also a good crowd going around and visiting the stalls and this shows the interest of the Praslinois community to come forward and participate. Actually they are wondering why we do not organise such events on a regular basis.”
“Our ministry remains open to join other stakeholders for such events in the future. We see these as opportunities to not only educate our population but also one for networking and promotion of local products and producers and eventually benefit the community at large.”
Students from the inner island schools animated the opening ceremony and SBC entertained the event with live radio coverage.
Photos: Romano Laurence