The first edition of the Environmental Awards, in the context of the World Environment Day, is being launched on Monday morning by Minister of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, Mr Kavydass Ramano during a press conference in the presence of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Ravi Sankar Sonea; the Director of Environment, Mr Jogeeswar Seewoobaduth; and other personalities. The Award is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, and various stakeholders, said Mr Ramano.
The Minister pointed out that the Award has as objectives to: recognise and reward efforts of institutions in taking sustainability measures and best environmental initiatives to reduce their carbon footprints; adopt durable and sustainable plastic alternatives; and make optimal use of resources to curb environmental nuisances.
Referring to plastic pollution, the Minister observed that around two million tons of plastic were produced in the 1950s yearly and that, currently, more than 400 million tons of plastic are being produced with an expected increase in the figures to 600 million tons by 2026. He further dwelt on the detrimental impacts of plastic pollution on health, and the environment.
In view to address the issue in Mauritius, Minister Ramano indicated that Government is charting a roadmap and has implemented a series of measures to make the country plastic free. These comprise: a ban and control on the use of plastic products and use of biodegradable plastic and alternative modes of local products; ensuring easy access to alternative modes at an affordable price; introduction of an Integrated (Solid and Hazardous) Waste Management Bill; and amendment and reform in the Environment Protection Act.
The Environment Minister moreover invited the civil society as well as the public and private sectors to collaborate in achieving a smooth ecological transition and likewise called upon each citizen to change their mindsets and behaviours to attain that objective. He emphasised the need of adopting an environmentally friendly culture for a greener and more sustainable Mauritius.
The Award is open to local, public and private institutions and comprises 11 sectors of activities including textile and manufacturing; food manufacturing; hypermarkets and supermarkets; educational institutions; media; Non-Governmental Organisations; waste and resource management; banking and finance; tourism; local authorities; and public sector which is subdivided into 28 categories. The Award will reward three winners in each category. The winners and runners-up of the Environmental Awards in each category will be announced on 05 June 2023.