Hundreds of people brought collected batteries and used equipment for recycling purposes, calculated how many trees they owe the planet, checked the quality of water they drink and air they breathe, participated in workshops, learned more about environment, and even played - so they celebrated the World Day of Environment in Chisinau, at a festival which is already at its fourth edition.
The event took place on June 7 in Valea Morilor Park, and its location was not chosen by chance. The park is an oasis of clean air in Chisinau, the city with the most polluted air in the Republic of Moldova.
"We are the ones who have to protect the planet. Modernizing and technologizing life has led to environmental pollution. It is important that each of us act to diminish the sources of pollution and, consequently, the negative impact on health. The environment is strictly correlated with health. We can start by giving up to personal cars at least one day a week in favor of public transport or bicycle," said Valentina Ţapiş, State Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment, in her opening speech.
Gheorghe Teleaga, Environmental Protection Specialist at the National Agency for Public Health, said: "We are glad that many people interested in environmental issues and air quality participate in the event. We are all aware that this affects our health. We are dedicated to contributing by evaluating and providing accurate data on air quality."
Air pollution is not always visible, but its effects are shattering: "About 9 out of 10 people in the world breathe polluted air, this phenomenon is a global public health emergency and requires our immediate action. Every year, 7 million deaths are due to exposure to polluted air, which causes strokes, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma. Children, women and people working outdoors are the most affected. To protect our health, we need to overcome air pollution together," said Stela Gheorghita, coordinator of emergency public health programs at the World Health Organization Office in the Republic of Moldova.
At the event, Orange, in partnership with the innovation laboratory of UNDP Moldova and Chisinau City Hall - Green City Lab, installed sensors that measure air quality. This year, five such sensors will be installed in the city to inform the population about the parameters of the air they breathe.
"We are all responsible for the pollution and only together we can help reduce harmful emissions and improve the quality of the air we breathe. Together we can transform gray into green," emphasized Valeria Ieşeanu, Head of Programme at UNDP Moldova.
The sectors that generate the most air pollution in the country are: energy, transport, residential, i.e. households. Efforts must be directed towards reducing pollution sources and replacing them with environmentally friendly technologies, as the Festival’s organizers have emphasized.
At the event, visitors communicated with specialists working in water and air testing laboratories. They could calculate their CO2 footprint equal to the number of trees owed to the planet.
This year as well, the quest facility brought by the Small Grants Programme of the Global Environment Facility was very popular; visitors could guess the waste degradation period. The NGO Junior Achievement Moldova presented an innovative water filtration system and temperature storage for fish pools, invented by the school company "Growell".
The NGO Association for Waste Recovery and NGO Ecovisio organized workshops on collage, selective waste collection, mesh making, eco-friendly table games, carpet yoga. Participants also enjoyed free legal advice on environmental issues provided by NGO Eco Contact. The Association of Environmental Journalists and Ecological Tourism depicted the credible sources of information on environmental issues.
The program of the Environment Festival included entertainment for adults and children, vinyl mix music by DJ Gonzo, fair of natural, reusable, recycled, nature-friendly products and vegetarian food.
The special guests of the event were Balkan Taksim band, well known by the way they perform folklore from the Balkans and the Romanian Carpathians, blending with several styles of music (electronics, trip-hop, Balkan psych, rhythms from the Carpathians).
The Environment Festival is organized by an initiative group, in partnership with the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, the Small Grants Programme of the Global Environment Facility, the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection and the Association of Environmental Journalists and Ecological Tourism, with the contribution of NGO Ecovisio, NGO Eco Contact, NGO Junior Achievement Moldova, NGO Association for Waste Recovery, Association for Arrangement and Reconstruction of Chisinau, NGO The Ecological Movement of Moldova, NGO National Environmental Center, Limon LTD, Bricomol Professional LTD, METRO Cash & Carry Moldova.