Global leaders and decision makers should take a leading role in promoting the provision of safe and potable water and sanitation services to people in their respective countries, First Lady Gertrude Mutharika has said.
Mutharika spoke at the Washington National Mall last week where she addressed participants to the 2015 Global Earth Day, whose theme was Protecting our Planet and Its People.
Mutharika, who was a key speaker at the commemoration, also became the first high-profile woman to sign a declaration that commits to using available resources and means to provide sanitation to people from all walks of life in their respective countries.
Said Mutharika: “Global citizens, this day provides an opportunity for all of us to join hands in advancing the agenda of ensuring that every citizen globally is able to live a healthy, productive life.
“This can be achieved if every citizen took issues of ending poverty, improving sanitation and the environment seriously.”
Mutharika also emphasised the importance of sanitation which she said is a matter of dignity for women and girls.
She said: “Sanitation services are very vital for women and girls, not only in our country Malawi but everywhere across the world, that is why our government is making every effort to ensure that women and girls access such services to preserve their dignity.”
Global Earth Day was set aside to broaden, diversify and mobilise the environmental movement on the conservation of natural resources and is regarded as the largest civic observance in the world today.
Other speakers on the day included UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Junaid Ahmad, senior director at World Bank Group’s Water Global Practice.
The first Earth Day celebrations took place on April 22, 1970 in the United States of America where more than 20 million people participated in a march to protest against deterioration of the environment. – Gloria Masanza Kanyang’wa