The World Engineering Day is an official international day proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2019. This followed the submission of a proposal by the World Federation of Engineering Organisations.The World Engineering Day has since then offered a unique platform for all stakeholders to celebrate engineering as well as the significant contribution of engineering practitioners across the globe for a better and sustainable world.
The theme for the 2022 celebration, ‘Build Back Wiser – Engineering the Future’ ties in very much with the theme used for the last AGM of IET Ghana, ‘Sustainable Development to reduce the environmental footprints of our time”. The essence of the 2022 theme is for engineering practitioners to remind themselves about the need to secure the global environment by reducing our foot prints of our time. As has been alluded to by the World Watch Institute (2003), engineering activities including building construction consume as much as 40% of the world’s raw stones, gravel and sand as well as 25% of virgin timber each year.
The extraction of natural resources alone is known to cause irreparable damage to the natural environment of both ecology and aesthetics.The use of (electronic waste) e-waste or instance is a growing global challenge that poses a serious threat to the environment and human health worldwide. It is a problem that could soon expand into a global health crisis, largely affecting urban areas, if not quickly addressed. The total amount of e-waste generated globally in 2014 alone was 41.8 million metric tonnes.
Ghana imports 40,000 tonnes of e-waste each year and runs the largest recycle industry on the African continent. Do we need to remind ourselves that if one has to avert his mind to the extractive industry where we have as a country struggled in recent years to deal with the menace of illegal mining popularly known as ‘galamsey’, the challenges we confront with air pollution arising from the smoke emission into the atmosphere, threat that oil exploration could bring to marine life, among several other areas, etc? Considering the role that engineering practitioners play in the destruction or otherwise of the environment, practitioners are increasingly being required to play key roles in sustainable development as we seek to overcome global challenges, such as depletion of Natural resources, environmental pollution, rapid population growth and damage to our ecosystems. In the 20th Century, we sought to undertake our engineering activities without much thought on their impact on the environmental systems.
With the myriad of challenges facing our world today, engineering practitioners must revisit that mind-set and adopt a new mission focus to contribute to the building of a more sustainable, stable, and equitable world. For that to occur, we all must adopt a completely different attitude towards natural and cultural systems and re-consider interactions between engineering disciplines, non-technical fields and that of the society. As practitioners, we must adopt a more all-inclusive approach to engineering through a major
paradigm shift from control of nature to participation with nature; increased awareness of ecosystems, its services, and the preservation and restoration of natural capital; and finally a new mind-set of the mutual enhancement of nature and humanity that embraces the principles of sustainable development. This is the ,world that we all as engineering practitioners ought to desire. In the practice of our various trades, it is important that we are minded of these. As engineering practitioners, it is imperative that we all avert our minds to these and recalibrate our actions. This is to ensure that we will take the necessary steps towards ensuring a world safe for the continued development of our practice, speedy development of human capital and promoting systems that make life worth living by everyone. This is doable and we all need to challenge ourselves to these ideals. Together, let us work to keep the sanctity of our environment by every way possible. God bless you and God bless us all! Long Live the quest to make the world a better place using Engineering! Happy World Engineering Day to all practitioners! Long Live Ghana, Long Live Engineering Council and Long Live IET, Gh!
Engr. Henry Kwadwo Boateng F.PE.IET Gh