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World Environment Day 2000

June 5
World Environment Day 2000


All New Zealanders need make a conscious decision to protect the environment, Acting Environment Minister Phillida Bunkle said today in marking World Environment Day.

“June 5 was designated World Environment Day by the United Nations in 1972. The theme this year is ‘The Environment Millennium, Time to Act’. It's a call to action for all New Zealanders to take stock of our environment and think about what actions they can take to improve it,” Ms Bunkle said.

"Environmental protection is a global issue but improvements can be achieved if New Zealanders take stock and remember to think about the actions they can take to improve our environment," she said.

The Ministry for the Environment, with other agencies, is developing a national system for reporting on the state of the environment – known as the Environmental Performance Indicators Programme.

"One easy way for us as individuals to keep up with the state of our environment is by visiting the Ministry's website at www.mfe.govt.nz. By clicking on the logo for marine environment, you can see whether the water quality at your favourite recreational beach is safe or unsafe.

“Making improvements will require a high level of partnerships – between central and local government, industry and the community. Today is a good opportunity for all Kiwis to look at how actions can add to the problem – or to the solution.”

The monitoring of beach water quality was one example of such partnerships. Councils used the guidelines produced by the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Health to determine water quality. But there is still work to be done, Ms Bunkle said.

“Environment Ministers from 100 countries who met in Stockholm last week were concerned about the alarming discrepancy between words and deeds to protect the earth’s environment. They called for increased participation by the private sector in addressing this.

“New Zealand’s problems include a dwindling biodiversity, serious problems with degradation of our water and soil, worries about the effects humans are having on the climate, and the increasing pressure our cities are putting on our natural resources.”

Ms Bunkle said the Government was working to encourage good environmental practices, and was keen to recognise the effort of others. This includes the annual Green Ribbon Awards recognising outstanding efforts by individuals or groups to improving the environment.

The award winners would normally be announced on World Environment Day but this has been postponed until the Hon Marian Hobbs, Minister for the Environment, returns from overseas. Marian Hobbs has been attending the United Nations Environment Programme's Global Ministerial Environment Forum.

She will present the awards on June 14, 2000.

“However we can say we were very pleased with the number of nominations for the awards this year. It is encouraging to see the number of New Zealanders who care enough about the environment to put in the effort to make a difference,” Ms Bunkle said.


Ends

Kathy McNeill, (04) 917 7464 or 025 245 0449
Communications Manager
Ministry for the Environment

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