EES Government officials and UN representatives carrying tree seedlings for planting [©Gurtong]
By Peter Lokale Nakimangole
TORIT, 15th June 2011 [Gurtong] – On 10th June, Eastern Equatoria State marked Word Environment Day at Torit freedom Square in Torit after postponement from 5th June. Key speakers including the Deputy Governor, Environment Minister and UNDP officials called on the State to plant more trees and protect wildlife animals.
The State Deputy Governor, Hon. Nartisio Loluke Manir was the Guest of honour joined by his fellow Cabinet Ministers, Advisors and UN Agency representatives as well.
Hon. Loluke encouraged EES citizens to take lead in planting more trees. “Cut one plant more,” he said.
Also addressing the function was the Minister for Environment, Wildlife Conservation and Tourism in Eastern Equatoria State, Hon. George Echom Ekeno. Echom called on citizens for joint efforts in preserving the environment for future generations.
Echom underscored the importance of preserving the environment saying that, “we largely depend on it.” He informed the gathering that over 1.6 billion people around the globe depend on forests for their livelihoods.
He also condemned poaching activities in many parts of the State citing Ikotos where an elephant was killed some weeks ago.
The environment minister clarified that his ministry dint own animals but only protects for the public. His ministry together with other partners were taking corrective measures to ensure forests and animals are protected in the State.
A UNDP representative, Mr. Yared Abegaz thanked organizers and remarked the day to remind us on our duties to safeguard and save the environment.
Torit commissioner, Felix Otuduha Siro called on local communities to stop burning grass instead to utilize it for thatching houses.
The event organizing chairperson, Mr. Martin Koce Moyi apologized for the delayed celebrations attributing to financial challenges as the Day was not reflected in 2011 Fiscal Year budget hence seeking assistance from UN-FAO, CARITAS, and Macdowel.
Airport View primary school pupils were among the groups that graced the occasion through songs and poems while passing clear messages to the public to reduce cut of trees and destroying natural species. The groups also denounced and appealed to the public to be aware and stop spreading HIV and AIDS.