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The City of Johannesburg Environmental Health Directorate celebrated the World Environmental Health Day on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at Thokoza Park in Soweto.

The City of Johannesburg Environmental Health Directorate celebrated the World Environmental Health Day on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at Thokoza Park in Soweto.

Building on the success of the World Environmental Days in recent years, the International Federation of Environmental Health (IFEH) decided that the 2013 theme will be “Emerging Environmental Health Risks and Challenges for Tomorrow”.
The World Environmental Health Day is celebrated around the world on the 26th of September every year and it is vital in creating awareness about the importance of the environmental health.  
As a build-up towards the World Environmental Health Day, the City’s Environmental Health Directorate conducted community outreach programmes about environmental health related legislations, by visiting schools, taxi ranks, churches and shopping centres to educate and distribute information.
“The event focused on creating awareness about different environmental health regulations and includes inspections of food premises, funeral undertakers’ premises and waste management. Illegal dumping of waste is still a primary cause of rodent infestation. Illegal dumping attracts rodents and provides them with a comfortable environment to nest and continue breeding”, says Counsellor Nonceba Molwele, the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development in the City of Johannesburg.
“I want to salute the Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) like I did in the last Alfred Nzo Award ceremony that we hosted recently”, said Molwele.
“Like any army that must sort out a challenge, these men and women are our foot soldiers and doing us proud. They have to confront transgressors and act accordingly in order to restore order regarding compliance with our environmental health bylaws. These foot soldiers are in a love and hate relationship with members of our community. They are loved by those that they rescue from environmental health nuisance and loathed by those who have disdain for compliance with health environmental bylaws”, said Molwele.
The World Health Organisation defines Environmental Health as a discipline that comprises those aspects of human health, including quality of life that are determined by physical, chemical, biological, social and psychosocial factors in the environment. It also refers to the theory and practice of assessing, correcting, controlling, minimising and preventing those factors in the environment that can potentially adversely affect the health of present and future generations.
The City of Johannesburg also held a National Department of Health’s Environmental Health Conference as part of the World Environmental Health Day. The two-day meeting attracted environmental health professionals from across the country and it was addressed by Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motswaledi.