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Jordan joins the world in celebrating World Environment Day
Jordan joins the world in celebrating World Environment Day
Saturday, 5 June 2021

Jordan and the world celebrate World Environment Day today, Saturday, and which happens to fall on the 5th of June of every year. This year, the theme of World Environment Day is "Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.".

The celebration of this day began in the year 1972, as it was adopted under the General Assembly of the United Nations’ resolution no. (27/2994) on the 15th of December 1972. The aim was to affirm international attention towards environmental conservation and improvement and the need for taking the necessary actions towards reducing food waste and loss.

This day aims at raising environmental awareness, clarifying the size of risks that surround the environment and guiding all actions towards preserving a healthy environment. A different country hosts the celebration every year and takes advantage of this day to advising against the risks of neglecting the environment and the political and popular effects of this negligence.

The Secretary General of the Higher Population Council Abla Amawi explained that the Council’s attention towards this day comes from its interest in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically the fifteenth goal related to protecting ecological systems and combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation and halting biodiversity loss. Amawi affirmed the importance of conserving the environment, as its very important for our survival, for it provides us with oxygen, regulates our weather patterns, pollinates our crops and produces our food, feed and fiber.

She also drew that in the area of legislation and laws related to environmental safety in Jordan, the Jordanian Environmental Protection Act No. 52 of the year 2006 stipulates protecting the environment through the Jordanian Constitution and the need for conserving the components and elements of the environment, as well as scaling up the environment and preventing its degradation, pollution or reducing it within the safe limits of pollution. The components of the environment include air, water, soil, biological creatures and humans and their resources. A number of bylaws stemming from the Environmental Protection Act were issued in the years 2005-2007 to deal with the technical, administrative and legal details particular to the most important environmental sectors of priority. The Jordanian Environmental Protection Law No. 6 was issued in 2017, along with a number of bylaws and related instructions and decisions that addressed the details of this law.

Amawi indicated that Jordan has advanced 11.2 percent in the 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), which is an essential means for assessing global environmental policies and their effectiveness in achieving global sustainability goals. The report includes 180 countries from around the world who are subject to 32 performance indicators within 11 categories that cover environmental health and the biodiversity of the ecosystem. The report was published online through the American universities Yale and Columbia in June 2020, where Jordan was ranked in 48th place globally and third between Arab countries after the UAE and Kuwait. Jordan has achieved a giant leap compared to previous years, as it ranked in 62nd place globally and 5th between Arab countries in the 2018 EPI, therefore advancing 14 places.

The EPI report has also classified Jordan within a number of factors, which are: health effects, air quality, drinking water and sanitation, heavy metals, waste management, ecosystem dynamics, ecosystem services, water resources, agriculture, forests, fish farming and climate change. Jordan has made clear progress within the factor of health effects and its exposure to environmental hazards, as it ranked 44th globally. Jordan also ranked in 36th place globally when it comes to air quality, 47th place globally in drinking water and sanitation and 57th place globally in water resources. However, there was a significant reduction in agriculture as it ranked in 139th place globally and in contaminated heavy metals such as lead, it ranked at 95th place globally. Jordan also ranked in 154th place globally in biodiversity, 62nd place in climate change and 76th place in waste management compared to 180 countries in the world.

The Higher Population Council indicated that the 13th Annual Report of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), titled “Health and the Environment in Arab Countries”, showed that rising temperatures in Jordan will cause an increase in the number of diseases transmitted through water and food, while floods will reinforce the chances of being infected with transmitted diseases. The possibility of epidemics transmitted by water such as cholera, dysentery, schistosomiasis and poliomyelitis could also increase.

Hazardous and toxic materials constitute a big health challenge in the Arab region due to inadequate management and lenient safety measures in addition to the lack of strict laws, according to the 13th Annual Report of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED). The results of the report also showed the uncontrolled use of ammunition in successive wars and conflicts in the Arab region has reflected on the health of millions, in addition to the disruption of health services and spread of diseases in refugee and displaced persons camps.

A recent monograph titled “The Effects of Syrian Asylum on the Environmental Sector in the Kingdom” revealed that the influx of Syrian refugees in the past years has increased the pressure on the commodities and services of the economic system and environmental situation in the Kingdom. The study also showed that this increase has increased overgrazing, logging, the overexploitation of medical plants and lead to high levels of agricultural activities, which has led to additional pressure on fertile land and increased the influx of medical, solid and hazardous waste.

The Council has also showed that as a result of the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on travel and industry, a number of areas and countries have witnessed a decrease in air pollution. The limitation of this pollution could limit the risks of both climate change and the coronavirus pandemic. However, it is unclear up until now the types of air pollution that represent a joint risk for climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.

The Council has recommended that there be an orientation for the state to focus on limiting pollution and conserving natural resources and working with them in parallel. It also recommended drawing attention to the risks surrounding the environment and guiding towards taking all actions to conserving a healthy and safe environment.