Egypt Independent

Egypt has disposed of 99% of its environmentally harmful material: Minister



 

Minister of Environment Yasmeen Fouad announced that Egypt has succeeded in disposing 99 percent of its material hazardous to the environment, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

During a celebration for the World Environment Day, Fouad said that Egypt has been seeking unorthodox methods to help preserve the ozone layer, alongside raising awareness towards the importance of the environment.

She added that the coming period will witness various activities with international partners and civil society to improve the youth’s knowledge on environmental issues.

Egypt celebrated on the World Cleanup Day on September 16, the same date as the Montreal Protocol signing in 1987 and the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The celebration was attended by several international organizations, ministers from various countries and NGO presidents.

Fouad asked attendees to focus on including youth to combat different environmental issues, such as saving the ozone. She added that the Egyptian Ministry of Environment agreed with the Ministry of Higher Education to create a plan to include environmental activities in universities, as well as utilizing an environmental aspect for student graduation projects.

The minister also took the opportunity to thank the ozone unit, which falls under the environment ministry, for their work, adding that the unit is considered the first in Africa and the Arab World.

The unit’s main responsibility is to make sure Egypt abides by international environment protocols and standards, as well as develop on the long run alternative technological advancements to ozone-depleting material Egypt uses.

Fouad also said that Egypt has always been an adamant defender in protecting the environment, reminding the attendees that the country played a great role in Vienna Agreement as well as the Montreal Protocol.

Egypt was the seventh country worldwide to sign the protocol out of more than 197, she added, and the country was also a founding member of the executive branch of the ozone multibranch fund, which operated from 1990 till 1992.

She said that Egypt’s environmental efforts have now paid off, as the country was able to rid itself from around 99 percent of the material most damaging to the ozone, which will also help decrease carbon dioxide emissions and combat climate change.

Fouad added that Egypt’s commitment to international protocols did not impact the country’s growth programs or long term goals to achieve sustainable development, thanks to excellent coordination between governmental and non-governmental organizations.

She concluded that Egypt had been part of the successful international cooperation mechanism helping heal the ozone layer, citing studies saying that say that the ozone layer should heal by the middle of the century.

The event also included the honoring of several companies that decreased harmful emissions, presentation of the ozone unit’s achievements in the field, and a film showing citizens appreciating the ozone.

These efforts come at time where Egypt does not stand on great footing with the international community  in regard to environmental issues.

A recent study by Eco Experts, cited by Forbes, ranked Cairo as the most polluted city in the world. The study was denied by the Ministry of Environment, who issued a statement questioning the methodology of the study as well as its sources.