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Did you know that medication in your system does not break down in the sewage treatment process and is released into the oceans where it affects the sea life?

Scientists testing the waters around Cape Town can tell the prevalent illnesses affecting people in different areas, by identifying the medication in the systems of aquatic animals such as sea urchins.

So looking after our own health and reducing the need for pharmaceuticals in our own lives, will have a beneficial effect on the environment. That’s one good reason why building resilience and immunity through vaccination is a good idea.

This was just some of the information shared by Professor Lesley Green of the University of Cape Town when she and Dr Vanessa Farr addressed a meeting of the Cape Flats Interfaith Group in Athlone on Thursday, 8 April.

Lesley Green is professor and director of Environmental Humanities South at the University of Cape Town. Vanessa Farr holds a PhD in women’s studies and has served as a specialist on small arms and armed conflict to the UNDP and UN Women for two decades.

Dr Farr described how the vaccinations are shown to help those with long term Covid-19, whose symptoms such as fatigue and pain, have lasted for months. The vaccination appears to relieve these uncomfortable symptoms and aids in recovery. Dr Farr said the vaccinations would prevent recurring infections and build up community immunity. It would also help to curb future variants which could threaten our ability to rebuild the economy. She praised the South African scientists who were able to identify and track the variant and prevent an even worse outbreak.

She spoke of the lack of access to vaccines as an environmental injustice just as much as lack of access to water for washing of hands is an environmental injustice.

Dr Farr encouraged faith leaders to guide communities to see hand washing as part of the sacred practice, to be done mindfully and reverently as a prayer. She also asked faith leaders to educate themselves about fear-mongering through fake news and to help combat fear by spreading scientifically verified facts. Sacred practices such as deep breathwork and breathing meditations would also help to keep us mentally and physically strong and enable communities to overcome the challenges they are facing as a result of this pandemic.

Rev Berry Behr
SAFCEI Faith Leader Liaison


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