Tobacco Free Association of Zambia (TOFAZA) has called for sensitisation on the gravity of tobacco on the environment.
With the globe having commemorated World Environment day yesterday, TOFAZA says the day should be used as a platform to raise awareness on all matters that negatively affect the environment, including tobacco growing, and manufacturing and use.
In a statement, TOFAZA Executive Director Brenda Chitindi says the impact of tobacco on the environment happens at various stages including growing and cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, use and disposal of tobacco products.
“Each of these stages has negative implications for the environment, including the use of precious resources such as water and trees and the creation of pollutants through manufacturing,” she elaborated.
She added that tobacco production affects the air, before it is even smoked to cause further damage to a person’s health.
“Tobacco growing destroys forests, damages soil and depletes water supplies. Manufacturing on the other hand contributes to the production of toxic waste.
“ Tobacco use pollutes the air we breathe, while also leaving residual nicotine and other harmful chemicals on indoor surfaces thereby exposing non-smokers to second-hand and third-hand smoke toxins,” she explained.
Zambia needs to pick up the pace and put greater efforts in finding better solutions to pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss in order to truly transform society and economy, and ultimately take care of the environment.
Stressing that this task requires concerted efforts, Ms. Chitindi has urged government to adopt the tobacco control bill which has been pending for over a decade, as one of the interventions in ensuring a healthy environment.
The World Environment Day falls annually on the 5th of June to raise awareness on the importance of preserving nature.
This World Environment Day theme is : ‘Only One Earth‘, which draws our attention towards playing our role effectively while living in perfect harmony with nature – without proving a burden on it.