MINISTER OF Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill, is encouraging young persons to play a greater role in protecting the environment.
He emphasised that it is imperative that citizens, particularly the youth, take the necessary steps to safeguard the environment, specifically as it relates to the impact of climate change.
"I really want to acquaint our populace about the importance of climate change and the environment. There is nothing more important now," he stressed.
Pickersgill was addressing a Fun Day event on Tuesday, hosted for children at Hope Zoo, Kingston, in commemoration of World Earth Day, which was observed on Monday.
The minister argued that, as a consequence of climate change, Jamaica needs to be prepared for more frequent hurricanes and the possibility of high-impact earthquakes.
"Two weeks ago, a seismic expert visiting my office informed that from (the) readings, we are in line for a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and we must make the necessary preparations. That is something that I will have to inform the public about and see to the disaster preparedness," he said.
During the event, the minister also engaged the students in a special interactive storytelling session where he highlighted the importance of protecting and caring for the environment.
Meanwhile, executive chairman of the Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation, Kenneth Benjamin, said the occasion marked another significant step in the redevelopment of the Hope Zoo. "Partnerships with the community and our youth are perfect steps towards maintaining a high level of environmental responsibility. In (recognition) of World Earth Day, we found it important to show our young people first-hand that it is tiny steps which have helped and enabled the zoo to make powerful changes, and educate them on how to treat our delicate environment and its flora and fauna, which depend on us for their care," he said.
More than 300 students were taken on guided tours of the facility.
The function was hosted by the Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation.