It is often said that health and environment are two sides of the same coin but what does that really mean?
“The relationship between the health of the environment and human health is one of interdependence—each affects the other”, says Dr. Jackson Katampi, a Senior Veterinary Officer at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife – DNPW.
Ms. Irene Lungu Chipili, the Corporate Affairs Manager at the Zambia Environmental Management Agency – ZEMA (2019) puts it this way, “Clean air and water, sanitation and green spaces, among others, are interestingly key determinants for human health”. She adds, “A healthy environment is not only associated with a reduced disease burden but is also linked to lower levels of stress and it is generally agreed that investing in environmental sustainability serves as an insurance policy for health and human well-being.”
Wildlife is one of the important components of our environment, with an essential role in ecological and biological processes that keep ecosystems in check. Commenting on the ecological importance of wildlife Dr. Katampi says, “For humans to thrive on earth, it is important to maintain balanced and healthy ecosystems and to protect the wildlife found in those ecosystems.” A healthy ecosystem depends on endless interactions amongst animals, plants, and microorganisms. These interactions have a direct effect on human life and health as they support endeavors that many people depend on such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
For instance, pangolins are known to act as natural pest control because they feed almost entirely on ants and termites. Elephants help with seed dispersal, which ensures the survival of various species of wild fruits that humans enjoy, and bees make honey!
The benefits of conserving nature go beyond promoting a healthy and food-secure society, it also has great potential for economic gain especially when natural resources like wildlife are harnessed appropriately and sustainably. Zambia’s vast wildlife populations are a big tourism draw and have significant economic value.
Conversely, if we do not take proper care of our environment, we are likely to suffer consequences we may not be able to mitigate. When we engage in behaviors that endanger other species and push them to extinction, we alter the ecosystem’s balance thereby affecting our food sources, our habitat, and in the end our own the survival.
“The degradation of the environment (the air we breathe, food we eat, the water we drink, and ecosystems which sustain us), is estimated to be responsible for at least a quarter of the global total burden of disease”, says Ms. Irene.
The recent COVID-19 global pandemic, which has been linked to the illegal wildlife trade, is just one of the many examples of how badly things can go wrong within our societies when we deliberately destroy nature. The illegal bushmeat trade poses a huge threat to public health and has been reported as the cause of many zoonotic diseases in humans.
Ms. Irene adds, “In recent years, both environmental and health experts have been making a strong link between the rising outbreaks of virus diseases such as Zika, Ebola, MERS, SARS and other zoonotic diseases (spread from animals to humans) and disturbed environments, biodiversity loss and climate change. The argument is that poor environmental management creates conditions conducive for pathogens and other disease vectors to thrive.”
On the economic front, the misuse of natural resources limits a country’s ability to reap maximum economic benefits from sustainable ventures. For example, the poaching of elephants for their ivory and the poaching of buffalo and other species for bushmeat, pose a serious threat to Zambia’s tourism industry, which relies on thriving wildlife populations. Conserving nature and the wildlife in it, is therefore a necessary step to ensuring our own survival and wellbeing.
The question you may be asking yourself at this point is “How can I, as an individual protect the environment?” In response, Ms. Irene says, “environmental conservation and sustainable utilization of natural resources is the responsibility of all citizens. As individuals, we should ensure that our actions respond to the three principles of sustainability; economy, society and environment, also informally referred to as profit, people and planet.”
Dr. Katampi adds, “In order to protect wildlife and maintain healthy environments, every citizen of this country must ensure that they do not promote the illegal harvesting of wildlife by consuming illegal wildlife products like bushmeat and they must not destroy the environment through uncontrolled harvesting of plants.”
In other words, say no to illegal bushmeat, report wildlife crime and take the opportunity to visit Zambia’s beautiful National Parks. We must always remember that when we protect our environment, we protect our health, our society and our future.
DNA reveals Ndola Teaching Hospital babies were swapped, police say
POLICE and hospital authorities at Ndola Teaching Hospital (NTH) are trying to arrest a suspect who swapped two babies at the hospital facility.
This is after a DNA test was conducted on the two babies that were allegedly swapped between January 13 and 14th this year.
Earlier between January 13th and 14, two mother’s were in a dilemma after there was a suspected baby swapping.
A complaint was made by Danny Kiprios 35 saying his son weighing 4.4Kg at birth was swapped with another baby weighing 3.5kg.
Copperbelt police commanding officer Peacewell Mweemba following a suspected Child Swapping, results have indicated that the babies were swapped.
“Investigations were instituted and samples were collected from the two mothers and from the two babies and they were sent to police service headquarters Forensic department for DNA analysis. A follow up report on the matter is such that the DNA results have been received from Lusaka and they are indicating that the babies were indeed swapped. They are indicating that the bigger baby who weighed 4.4kg truely belonged to the Majory wapamesa kaprios (the complainants).
The other smaller baby who weighed 3.5kg belongs to Violet Mulenga Mulenga, contrary to her claim that her baby was the bigger one,” he said.
He said this is in accordance to the DNA report as analysed by the Forensic Department.
“The dispute of identifying the two babies to their biological mothers has been settled by the results ,but what is remaining is finding out the suspect who swapped the bands on the hands of the two infants so as to create a confusion. As such investigations are on going so as to bring the suspect to book,” he said.
(Mwebantu, Sunday, 29th January, 2023)
35 People escape death after bus they were traveling on caught fire and burnt to ashes
THIRTY-FIVE people, including the driver have escaped death after a passenger bus they were traveling in destined to Lusaka from Chipata caught fire and burnt to ashes.
This was after the airbags burst and caught fire, reducing the bus to flames.
Police assistant public relations officer Godfrey Chilabi said the incident occurred today around 14:00 hours near Unyanya area along Great East Road.
“Involved was Lottie Mwale aged 35 of Chipata Motel in Chipa, District Chipata who was driving a Scania Marcopolo Bus registration number AJE 3160 a property of Jonda Bus Tours that was carrying 34 passengers on board. Preliminary investigations indicate that the incident happened when the Motor Vehicle had its airbag burst and eventually caught fire,” he said.
Mr Chilabi said the driver and the passengers escaped unhurt while the vehicle was completely burnt and reduced to ashes.
(Mwebantu, Saturday, 28th January, 2023)
Suspected dangerous criminal gunned down by police
POLICE in Lusaka have shot dead a suspected dangerous criminal and recovered an AK 47 rifle with ammunition.
The incident occured yesterday around 18:00hrs along Kasangula Road.
Assistant public relations officer Godfrey Chilabi said this follows a tip-off from an informer that criminals were about to stage a robbery, the Anti-robbery Squad was quickly dispatched to the area.
“Facts of the matter are the Anti-robbery Squad spotted a Toyota Axio,along Kasangula road, matching the description given by the informant .
The said motor vehicle was parked by the roadside with three suspected criminals standing outside. Upon being challenged by the police, an exchange of fire ensued between the suspected criminals and the police,” he said.
Mr Chilabi said two criminals managed to jump onto the the Axio Motor Vehicle and sped off while one was hit by a bullet and fell down.
He said when officers advanced to pick him up, an AK 47 rifle with erased serial number with four rounds of ammunution was recovered.
Mr Chilabi said the suspected criminal was picked and rushed to University Teaching Hospital for treatment but unfortuantely, he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
He said the deceased is believed to have escaped from the recent shooting incident in Kitwe involving a theft of motor vehicle that occurred at Chiwempala Police station.
“He is also believed to have been behind a spate of aggravated robberies that occured between Copperbelt and Lusaka provinces.
An inquiry file has since been opened while a manhunt has been instituted into the other two who fled.
The body of the deceased is in UniversityTeaching Hospital Mortuary awaiting postmortem,” he said.
(Mwebantu, Saturday, 28th January, 2023)