BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Brunei Darussalam stands united with the global community to commemorate Earth Day, a platform to cultivate environmental awareness and promote ways for society to protect the environment on April 22.

This year’s theme of ‘Restore Our Earth’ focuses on restoring the earth through reducing and adapting to the effects of environmental damage and pollution as well as climate change.

The theme coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the world over a year ago.

The effects of this pandemic have clearly illustrated that the earth is facing two closely related crises — deterioration of the global environment and human health.

Environmental damage and pollution are a result of human activities such as unsustainable development, illegal trafficking and poaching, unsustainable deforestation, uncontrolled fishing or overfishing, while climate change would lead to global economic deterioration.

We are aware that human health and life is heavily dependent on the natural services of biodiversity, which are made up of many different types and ecosystems.

As we develop a sustainable Brunei Darussalam, we recognise the need to have a stable biosphere that supports a healthy human society.

A balanced ecosystem can be maintained through various means, including the adoption of green technologies, good agricultural practices, wildlife restoration and ocean protection.

The Ministry of Development through the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe) is running a social media campaign this year, as a continuation of the ‘Take Your Action, Make A Difference’ campaign that was introduced on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day last year.

This social media movement will be held during Ramadhan and Syawal to raise environmental awareness and encourage the public to kickstart eco-friendly habits.

Information will be shared in the form of infographics, videos, interactive quizzes, pantun (Malay form of poetry) exchanges as well as tips on practising green habits.

The campaign will extend until June 2021 to commemorate World Environment Day, where several other activities have also been lined up, including the expansion of the No Plastic Bag Every Day initiative to convenience stores, restaurants and food stalls.

Other events include an environmental roadshow and announcement of the winners of the Floating Waste Collector Conceptual Design Competition that was opened to tertiary education institutions last year.

More information on the campaign and updates of the activities will be released on JASTRe’s Instagram account.

It is hoped that this approach can provide some inspiration for all to rethink our lifestyles and develop new sustainable habits, especially in this blessed month of Ramadhan to safeguard the earth that we care and cherish.

Together, we ‘restore our earth’.

YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar is Brunei’s minister for development.