U.S. Embassy Partners Local Groups to Commemorate Earth Day

Ambassador Thomas Jr with volunteers during the clean up exercise at Harare Gardens
Ambassador Thomas Jr with volunteers during the clean up exercise at Harare Gardens

The United States Embassy partnered the City of Harare and a local nongovernmental organization, Miracle Missions, in a cleanup exercise picking up litter at Harare Gardens on April 22nd to mark Earth Day. The event was attended by about 50 individuals, including Acting Mayor Councilor Chris Mbanga and City of Harare officials, diplomats and volunteers.

The team collected nearly 450 kilograms of trash and recyclable waste in 90 minutes.

The initiative was led by the U.S. Embassy Harare Green Team which brings together diverse individuals with interests varying from wildlife and water conservation to recycling and helping the embassy community become more environmentally sustainable.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. praised City of Harare officials and representatives of Miracle Missions for taking the bold steps to mark Earth Day.

“We feel strongly that these clean-ups are important to the people who use the Harare gardens each day and permit the U.S. to give back, in a small way, to our gracious hosts, the people of Zimbabwe,” said Ambassador Thomas Jr. adding that his Embassy will also be collaborating with the Zimbabwe Forestry Commission on a tree planting initiative in December.

Earth Day is celebrated worldwide annually on April 22, to demonstrate global interest in, and support for, the protection of our natural environment.  It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now celebrated in more than 193 countries each year.-

Ambassador Thomas Jr said this year’s Earth Day commemorations event were signification because States, including the United States and Zimbabwe, were due to sign a landmark Paris Agreement.

“It will be signed by both the United States and Zimbabwe in addition to some 120 other countries on this day. This signing satisfies a key requirement of the Climate Protection Treaty adopted by consensus of the 195 nations present at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris,” he said. The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.

The U.S. Embassy Green Team has in the past partnered local environment groups to promote environment awareness and environmental preservation through waste reduction, reuse, recycling and clean up campaigns. It has led several Harare Gardens clean-up, and has developed messages to promote a clean environment targeted at the Embassy community and their families.

Other activities have included holding composting classes for the gardeners of Embassy staff and recycling shredded paper, soda cans, magazines and plastic bottles.  The recycled paper is used for making booklets, cards and paper/envelopes; and the recycled magazines are made into jewelry. ZimPAS © April 25, 2016