Environmental affairs MEC Mtolephi Mthimkhulu said on Thursday that the violent storms that have been plaguing KwaZulu-Natal over the past two months are a result of global change which can be prevented if 2009 is made a year of renewed care for the environment.
At least 20 people have already been killed this year in the storms, some of which were struck dead in their homes by a lightening bolt. He said the changes were a direct result of the "unfriendly way we have been treating our environment. It's because of our own carelessness... "
Mthimkhulu said that for South Africa and the entire world global warming was the biggest threat that would affect every part of everyone’s lives.
"When it rains heavily, we will be vulnerable to diseases like malaria, when there is flooding our agricultural fields are destroyed, when there is drought there will be poverty... violent storms, heavy rain, wind... can be prevented only if we can all make this year a year of renewed care for the environment."
Fighting climate change
Mthimkhulu said they would also fight global climate change by working together with Independent Publishers to produce books for school children so they can study and understand about global warming and in turn global weather change. "Through this book, we hope to ensure that learners correctly understand the impact of global warming." He also urged other media groups to help by joining the campaign.
"Global warming is something we must take very seriously, like HIV and Aids, because we need the environment to sustain our livelihoods."