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.
Lusaka woman arrested as voice note alleging theft by CB minister traced to her phone.
A 59-YEAR-OLD woman of Lusaka’s Makeni area has been arrested following the circulation of a voice note implicating Copperbelt Province Minister Elisha Matambo in alleged financial misconduct.
Rebecca Mulenga of Christ the Redeemer Catholic church is alleged to have been the one circulating the audio on various WhatsApp groups linked to her phone.
She has since been charged with libel, C section 191 of penalty code Cap.87 and Harassment utilising means of Electronic communication C section .69 of Cyber security and Cyber-Crime Act of 2021.
Copperbelt Province commanding officer Peacewell Mweemba said the incident is alleged to have occurred between January 1st and 31st.
“The Anti- fraud unit at Copperbelt Division Headquarters on January 31st, 2024 at 18:00 hours, received a report from the Copperbelt Minister Hon Elisha Matambo, after a voice note went viral on social media platforms alleging that the minister was a thief who had stolen public funds and that he has since acquired several trucks for sale in Ndola along Vitanda street and other properties among other accusations,” he said.
He said based on the report, officers instituted investigations into the matter.
Mr Mweemba said a search was conducted and preliminary clues indicated that the culprit who posted the audio on the WhatsApp group was in Makeni Lusaka.
“Further, the officers were then dispatched to Lusaka where Rebecca Mutale Mulenga, aged 59 years also of Christ the Redeemer Catholic main Church Makeni – Lusaka was apprehended on Thursday February 9th, 2024 and was transferred to Ndola the following day Friday February 10th,2024. A phone allegedly used in the commission of crime was recovered, seized from her and subjected for forensic scientific extract of the voice notes as well as examining other incrementing evidence at ZICTA on February 14th, 2024,” he said.
Mr Mweemba said the results were received from ZICTA on Friday , February 16th, 2024.
“The suspect has since been formally charged and arrested. she is still in police custody pending an appearance of Court on Monday 19th February 19th, 2024,” he said.
(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 20th February, 2024)
Eight-year-old killed by speeding vehicle, police say
BARELY two weeks of having schools open, an eight-year-old grade one pupil of North-Western Province has tragically lost her life after being hit by a vehicle.
Loveness Kalusa was on her way to school when a Toyota Hilux being driven by James Moono aged 50, hit her and she sustained fatal injuries.
The driver is alleged to hit the victim due to driving with excessive speed.
North-Western Province commanding officer Dennis Moola said the incident occurred on Monday, February 19th around 06:49 hours at Kayonge area along Mutanda-Lumwana road in Kalumbila district.
He said the suspect was driving a Toyota Hilux registration BAA 6465 belonging to North-Western Energy Cooperation.
“Due to the impact the victim sustained a very deep cut on the left pelvic joint, suspected fractured, bruised forehead and multiple bruises on the left side of the body.The motor vehicle had slight dents on the front bumper,” he said.
Mr Moola added that the suspect has been detained and charged with Causing Death by Dangerous Driving.
(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 20th February, 2024)
Farmer discovers three dead bodies while carrying out routine check on his maize
IN a bizarre and gruesome state of events, a farmer of Kasisi area of Lusaka province has discovered three dead bodies in his maize field.
The three bodies of two females aged between 22 and 25 and a male aged between 30 and 35 were discovered meters apart from each other.
The bodies which are yet to be identified are believed to have all been gruesomely axed on the neck and head areas.
Police have launched investigations behind the gruesome murder of the three whose bodies were in a decomposed state.
Police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga who confirmed the gruesome incident to Mwebantu said it was reported on February 18th, 2024.
He said the axe used in the murder was also found at the scene some meters away from the bodies.
Mr Hamoonga said the incident was reported by Isaiah Lweela aged 47 of Kasisi Mine area.
“Brief facts are that on February 18, 2024 at around 15:00 hours, the reporter went to his farm to check on his maize field. As he was going round, he smelled a bad odor and saw a lot of flies nearby. He decided to check what was there only to find a dead body of a person. He went back to the village and informed people who went to the scene in large numbers and Later on discovered two more dead bodies and decided to report the matter to Police,” he said.
Mr Hamoonga said the Scene of Crime was visited by police and the bodies were three, two females aged between 22 and 25 and one of a male person aged between 30 and 35.
“The male body was found in the field with a deep cut on the head, clothed in a blue jean trousers, and white sneakers were recovered about 30 meters away from the body. 500 meters from the first body was another body of a female person with a deep cut on the right side of the neck. The third body of a female was discovered 80 meters from the second body with a deep cut on the head,” he said.
He explained that the axe suspected to have been used was recovered.
Mr Hamoonga said a yellow sweat shirt, white trousers, blue T-shirt, blue wrapper, a black cycling, a blue short and pink slippers were found and picked 30 meters from the third body.
(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 20th February, 2024)