GOVERNMENT should put environmental sustainability as a priority to avoid effects of climate change such as low water levels which is putting the country in a state of jeopardy, People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda has advised. In an interview with the Daily Nation, Mr Banda reiterated the need for people to be well informed about the effects of climate change on the environment. He noted that most of the activities people were carrying out for their livelihood were the major contributors to the problems many countries were currently facing. Mr Banda said even the power deficit the country was currently experiencing was as a result of human activities such as the cutting down of trees, which he warned would lead to deforestation. He explained that the exacerbated demand for charcoal has in turn aggravated deforestation to alarming levels. Mr Banda pointed out that Zambia needed a complete overhaul in the way people dealt with matters of environmental sustainability and that it should begin with mind-set change and a conscientious work ethic. “The country is experiencing problems such as power deficit because of the human activities which lead to global warming, in turn leading to low rainfall. The exacerbated demand for charcoal has in turn aggravated deforestation to alarming levels. ‘‘There is need for people to be well informed about the effects of climate change to the environment, and this will begin with mind-set change and a conscientious work ethic,” he said. Mr Banda disclosed that his party was ‘‘consumed with the passion’’ to ensure that the environment was not degraded in the present to the detriment of future generations. He advised that sustainable use of arable land was an integral part of environmental sustainability and that there was need for political will that would be more all-encompassing to ensure that the environment was protected. He noted that current Government policies had also contributed to environmental degradation by not discouraging cultivation of marginal lands or providing subsidies for heavy maintenance crops such as maize. He explained that maize in particular tended to rapidly mine out select nutrients in the soil and that small-scale farmers had continued to focus their attention on maize. Mr Banda warned that the continuous use of synthetic fertilizers will eventually lead to lower soil fertility and high pH levels. “Zambia needs a complete overhaul in the way we deal with matters of environmental sustainability. It should begin with mind-set change and a conscientious work ethic,” he advised.