Connectivity, but not at the expense of biodiversity

05 June 2020

The lockdowns in many countries during the spread of COVID-19 have been accompanied by images of wild animals venturing into the streets of deserted towns, experiencing life with fewer humans around. These visuals have been a reminder of the effect people have had on displacing animals from their natural habitats over the centuries and how human activity continues to destroy biodiversity.

Friday June 5 is World Environment Day, the United Nations day for encouraging awareness and action to protect the planet. The theme for 2020 is to celebrate biodiversity. And with scientists saying that one million species are now at risk of extinction, there has never been a more important time to focus on safeguarding the variety of life on Earth.

Africa and the Middle East are facing biodiversity threats despite still being home to a rich and diverse animal, plant, and marine biodiversity that provides critical ecosystem services, driving the regions’ economies and serving as buffers to climate change.

‘Eco-responsibility is a key pillar of MTN’s sustainability strategic framework. We are determined to ensure that our growth contributes positively to the future of the planet and continuously work to reduce our impact on the environment’, says Nompilo Morafo, Executive for Corporate Affairs at MTN Group.

Our belief is that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. So far, more than 257 million subscribers have plugged in to our network across 21 countries. The masts that we use to connect customers are one sign of our presence in these markets.

When planning the location of these, MTN considers various factors, including environmental, biodiversity, visual and functionality aspects. We consider proximity to existing roads and electricity infrastructure to reduce the potential disturbance to the natural environment of vegetation removal or habitat disturbances during construction.

Together with our partners, we work to minimise biodiversity loss and environmental impact, safeguarding against the removal, damage or disturbance of flora, fauna or birdlife. We also ensure that no hunting, trapping, shooting or poisoning of any fauna takes place.”

Our work goes beyond mere compliance with environmental laws. We believe strongly in the protection of the world’s precious natural resources. Connectivity does not need to come at the price of biodiversity. Through conscious decision-making, and planning and implementation, we are committed to reduce our impacts across the markets in which we operate.

This World Environment Day join us in calling for action to combat accelerating species loss and degradation of the natural world. It’s Time #ForNature: it’s time to act to help end biodiversity loss and the climate crisis. Only by playing our part can we allow nature to heal and ensure a better and healthier future for everyone.