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Marching #withnature in Tajikistan

On 26 May, a march celebrating World Environment Day in Tajikistan’s two largest cities showed the way to an improved stewardship of our planet and in turn keep citizens healthy.

Scores of participants walked through central Dushanbe and Khujand meeting the general public on the streets and in cafés, sharing information on the impact on the environment of action we take in our daily lives and ways we can better protect nature.

Forests occupy just 2.9% of Tajikistan, despite them cleaning the air people breathe and creating soothing shade from the hot summer sun – which can often lead to temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius in the country’s capital in summer. ‘Plant trees in autumn and spring’ suggested the flyer shared by the troop.

Meanwhile, every day, 600-700 tonnes of municipal waste is deposited in landfill in Tajikistan’s capital, which now contains a mountain-like 30 million cubic metres of discarded material. ‘Reduce, re-use and recycle wherever possible!’ pleads the flyer, given out in English, Russian and Tajik.

In Dushanbe, the campaign began at the UN Information Resource Centre building at Mirzo Tursunzade str. 30 and covered four neighbourhoods. A further 30 nature defenders wearing dedicated t-shirts covered much of central Khujand on their walk at the same time.

“Environmental protection is important to Tajikistan as – being the poorest country in our region – we are especially vulnerable to climate change for example,” underlined Tahmina Azizova of the Poverty and Environment Initiative which is run by UN Environment and the United Nations Development Programme and led the marches together with UN volunteers.

“Underdeveloped mechanisms for social accountability, obsolete infrastructure and inefficient use of energy and water resources - the legacy of Soviet Union, - exarcerbate the state of environment in the country," said Tahmina.
“We hope that the knowledge we share on why we need to protect nature will also reach rural areas and beyond,” she underlined.

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