In Defense of the Environment

Interview with Doctor Rosa Elena Simeón, Minister of Science, Technology and Environment

June 1, 2000

By Roger Aguilera Morales

(Ain´s Special Service)

Since several years ago , there is an alert in the world, warning us about the problem of the biological diversity and right now it is said that during the first 25 years of this century, Mother Earth will see itself affected for the disappearance of an incalculable number of species.

On the contrary to what other nations do with high economic power , Cuba, is a Third World nation, but goes first line in favor of the defense of the nature, and as a reward Cuba was chosen as a seat of the celebrations for June 5, "World Day of Environment"

About why this decision has been taken , Doctor Rosa Elena Simeón , Minister of Science , Technology and Environment (CITMA) explains to AIN´s Agency :

" Cubans arrive to June the 5th in a cleaner environment , recognized by the whole world , thanks to our conception of the sustained development.

"In this Caribbean country----she added---advancements in favor of the protection of the environment have their origin on important social factors such as culture, education....and they are visible in the air we breathe , the water we drink, and the tree we plant and see it grow.

"But besides, the conception of seeing mountains as an ecosystem has been important in our work, and beaches - integrally speaking - are not seen as a natural resource that gives wonderful water, but as a place that forces us to protect it.

Hotels are built for tourism , but without affecting the natural conditions of the surroundings.

Where should Cuba do a greater effort in the future?

"Today any Cuban knows what environment means -she explains -meanwhile years ago the term was not known neither sustained development.

"Now the whole population participates in the mentioned activities of taking care of the nature , or even a few days ago , more than 400 children attended a journey about the National Aquarium theme"

But it is undeniable that we face more serious problems on soils. We are going to dedicate a special chapter , although we already have an advancement with the program of Deserts and Draught for five years , already approved and it will tell us how to face this situation.

In the Antilles, Cuba is an example of bio diversity : it has six thousand 500 species of flowers, six thousand of marine fauna and three thousand of mollusk , all with a high percentage of endemism.

The biological diversity can be appreciated at the mountain chains , that is so at Sierra Maestra where more than 300 species of vertebrates can be appreciated and in Nipe Sagua Baracoa the quantity of moss and brackens.

The participation of all structures of the society have been a determining factor on the results of the Caribbean country in the environment , but the Cuban laws keep in force a system of protected areas compared to the 130 square kilometers of forests being lost in the world today.


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