Mpophomeni starts clean-up

2010-06-21 00:00

MPOPHOMENI residents are not sitting back and waiting for authorities to solve environmental problems in the township — they are taking the initiative and literally getting their hands dirty.

Community members participating in a recent workshop reported on several projects under way in the Mpophomeni region.

Friends for Life has run clean-up campaigns and Duct (the Duzi-Umgeni Conservation Trust) is establishing “river care teams” to clear alien invasive plants and litter from the two streams that flow out of Mpophomeni and into the wetlands below the town.

These teams also monitor sewage manholes in the sewers that run parallel to the streams, and report them so that the uMgungundlovu District Municipality’s (UMDM) water and sanitation team can repair them.

Most participants are also committed to concentrating on at least one environmental problem that they believe is serious in their area.

Friends for Life agreed to organise litter-clearing teams for 13 months from its team of 108 people, and the Midlands Meander Education Project and the Zulu-Mpophomeni Tourism Experience agreed to concentrate on education about wetlands.

Masibumbane HIV and Aids Mission committed to recycling and using more environmentally friendly gardening methods.

The workshop was part of a series facilitated by the Wessa/Mondi Wetlands Programme (Wildlife and Environmental Society of SA) to explore the environmental challenges facing local communities. It was attended by representatives of several community-based organisations and municipal wards in Mpophomeni.

Participants highlighted the well-known problems of solid waste removal, littering, sanitation and alien plant invasions, and identified other key areas.

They agreed that “education, awareness and unemployment are the biggest challenges we face in Mpophomeni”.

Many present also noted the degradation of urban and peri-urban wetlands as well as streams and rivers. They stressed the urgent need to rehabilitate these.

One of the speakers at the workshop was Riaz Jogiat, acting manager (municipal functions) for UMDM. He described the waste management challenges facing municipalities and said that because uMngeni Municipality does not have suitable places for future landfill sites, residents simply will have to reduce the amount of waste they generate, separate it “at source” and engage in recycling.

He also commented on the need for environmental education initiatives at all levels.

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