People around the world are celebrating International Earth Day in an effort to encourage respect for the planet and raise awareness of the importance of daily “green acts” to preserve the environment.
Earth Day, celebrated annually on 22 April every year, was originally founded by the USSenator and environmental activist Gaylord Nelson in 1970. Earth Day was primarily celebrated in the USbefore becoming an international holiday in 1990 and then receiving recognition from the United Nations in 2009.
The event is celebrated in more than 175 countries around the world and coordinated by the Earth Day Network, which is sponsoring a “Billion Acts of Green Campaign” to persuade people to participate in public events or private initiatives.
There are many ways to celebrate Earth Day: Planting a tree in your neighborhood could be an entertaining way to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; making nature crafts at home or at school could help younger generations adopt a positive approach toward the environment; recycling plastic bags, using alternative transportation (i.e. a bicycle) for at least one day a month, stopping the use of pesticides and toxic cleaning products or eating local food are easy ways to actively support the initiative.
In Egypt, the main event to celebrate Earth Day is organized by the NGO Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA), which works in the field of marine and land conservation.
Urte Fiek, project manager at HEPCA, said the NGO organizes cleanups throughout the year. “For the Earth Day, we contacted hotels and diving centers asking them to organize cleanups independently because we want them to adopt the practice in the future," said Fiek.
Many hotels have joined the initiative in Hurghada, Marsa Alam, Quseir, Safaga, and SomaBay.
"Other cleanups will be directly organized in the same areas today by HEPCA, which expects the participation of about 100 people gathering from 9 am to 3 pm," she said.
Fiek said she noticed public support for the cleanup initiative has increased after the Egyptian revolution, and many more people are making an active civic commitment to environmental protection.
Two Port Saidevents are celebrating Earth Day, including Portsaid-online.com’s clean up of the city, MontazaParkand Port Fouad.
“The event is counting on volunteers to clean up and paint El Montaza Park,” environmental activist and event coordinator Watter al-Bahry said.
The second event is organized by the Red Crescent and coordinated by Abdelhameed Ahmed Metwaly. The program includes a painting workshop for kids with an environmental theme and a lecture about the negative impact of garbage discharged in the sea followed by a screening of the documentary The Earth is our home.
In Cairo, the Community Service Association celebrated Earth Day yesterday, with a garden Earth Day bazaar featuring 15 vendors who sold recycled products and environmentally-friendly home equipment.