Howick: District manager launches project to revive park’s life-supporting stream

2009-04-20 00:00

HOWICK — The health of the natural environment is not just the pastime of the white, the rich and the educated as is often portrayed in the media, said the municipal manager of the uMgungundlovu District Municipality, Sbu Khuzwayo.

Joking that he spoke “at the risk of losing my job”, he said: “For too long, the district municipality has not fully played its role as a water services authority; for too long it has abdicated its responsibility of ensuring a clean environment for the citizens in its area of jurisdiction.”

Khuzwayo was speaking on Saturday at the launch of the Symmonds Park stream rehabilitation project in Howick.

This is an initiative by Howick residents and the Howick branch of Duct (the Duzi-uMngeni Conservation Trust).

He said it was “opportune” to launch the project at a time when the ecosystem is under threat from a population explosion, unplanned economic growth, political neglect and social apathy.

These multiple threats are largely reflected in the state of rivers, “which leaves a lot to be desired”.

Rivers function as life-support systems for living organisms, including humans, he said, adding that ironically, humans are threatening their well-being.

The district municipality has a legal and moral obligation to respond to the multiple threats posed to the environment by raw sewage spilling into rivers, illegal dumping, alien species and sand mining, he believes.

Khuzwayo said the district municipality has a duty to elevate the issues of water, sanitation and environmental health, which are enshrined in the Constitution, “on to the radar screens of all politicians so that Jacob Zuma, Helen Zille and Julius Malema can begin to articulate and pronounce on these issues”.

He commented that most political parties’ election manifestoes look “more or less the same”, featuring issues around job creation, economic growth, education, health and rural development.

By contrast, environmental health and the strained ecosystem are “conspicuous by their absence in the social and socio-political discourse … We therefore have a legal, moral and civic duty to conscientise our communities about the global effect of unplanned social and economic growth.

Global warming is but one of the global impacts of this critical matter. Environmental degradation as epitomised by our polluted rivers seeks to nullify the gains of social and technological advancement of the past century.”

Khuzwayo said the district has prioritised water conservation and demand management. On the supply side, it needs to improve maintenance and management of infrastructure in order to reduce its “scandalous” levels of water loss through leakage.

It also needs to work with other state organs to support water conservation initiatives.

“On the demand side, we need to educate communities about the value of water efficiency and general environmental health,” he said.

The environmental challenges involved are such that the government cannot face them alone. What is needed is a partnership between government, civil society and business.

“We would like to partner with similar-minded individuals to spread this gospel of environmental health. This district is endowed with many natural features. We have a civic duty to preserve this natural heritage for the generations to come,” Khuzwayo concluded.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.