It’s about the environment, stupid

2009-08-10 00:00

LAST week a report in The Witness told of 150 yellowwoods (of the Podocarpus species) being destroyed by a gang — Working for Water nogal — who mistook them for wattles.

It’s enough to make one cry all over again for this beloved country. It’s not just about the environment, either. It’s about lack of leadership. Finding jobs for people is great. But not without leadership — especially when, for reasons beyond their control, they are uneducated.

For the past several years I have been going on about the environment in a small, obviously ineffectual way, in sporadic articles in The Witness. These have come to an end now, but the environmental issues go on.

I have written about harmless, beautiful eucalyptus trees on the sides of the road being ring-barked to die forlorn and unsightly deaths; and about

100-year-old cedars suffering the same fate. This when all around them were — and still are — vast colonies of invasive alien wattles and brambles that are encroaching further and further.

I have written about harmless street trees in Howick that are being chopped down and about naturalised Lilium formosum being grubbed out when billions of bug weed grow unchecked.

What sort of leadership is it that sends people out with destructive implements and with no supervision, and obviously no knowledge of what they are supposed to be doing?

Up in the Sani Pass region word got around a while back that the Working for Water team were eradicating exotic willows on stream banks. But they

weren’t exotic willows. They were probably the native Salix mucronata subs woodii, which happen to have the layman’s

title of bush willow. What sort

of leadership allows this to

happen?

I live along a district road that occasionally gets some attention from the Roads Department. The grader operators make a great job of it — not just on the road and necessary drains, but along the verges and even the steep banks, cleaning them up of all natural vegetation, reducing them to smooth bare earth; ready to be washed away into the drains and culverts, come the next torrent of rain.

I know nothing about roads engineering but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist … just some leader — the one who sent out that grader operator, to go out to the site and supervise.

I hate to think of what will happen on the Sani Pass road (in a World Heritage Site) when they start on it. Hopefully, they will never get further than the hotel, which is their initial goal.

And thinking of verges, I hate to think what the doughty dump gardeners, messrs Patrick

Ngcobo and Fanboy Mbhele, must be feeling about their lovingly tended garden on the Old Howick Road since it has been desecrated by people who certainly should have known better. Here are two people who are leading by example.

Please will some local leader come forward to help them restore their garden.

• Phyl Palframan is a retired farmer’s wife, living on the home farm, a mother, grandmother, gardener and freelance journalist.

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