Conservation: 13 000 trees for 13 000 runners in three days

2009-05-21 00:00

“THIRTEEN thousand trees in three days? No sweat.”

These are the words of “tree-preneur” Sipho Ndlela, who is helping to plant a tree for every runner in this year’s Comrades Marathon as part of the Comrades Releaf campaign.

The campaign, the brainchild of the Wildlands Conservation Trust, has begun in the buffer area around the Bufffelsdraai Landfill Site near Verulam.

The first trees were planted by Comrades officials and a top woman Comrades runner ,Fawa Mentoor, yesterday.

Local runners were also challenged to plant a seed at the Releaf stand at the Comrades Expo, which starts today at the Durban Exhibition Centre.

Besides helping to reafforest the area as part of Ethekwini’s 2010 World Cup programme to help offset carbon emissions, the project also aims to uplift the local community. The campaign allows locals to grow the trees from seeds, care for the plants and then trade them for food and other essentials.

Ndlela and 20 other people from the Buffelsdraai and Osindisweni communities have been employed to dig holes and another forty will help plant the 13 000 trees over the next three days.

He said he is excited about being part of the project as it creates employment for the poor in the area.

“I was unemployed when they offered me a job. It was really exciting for me to help with the reafforestation project,” he said.

Greening 2010 Durban co-ordinator Nicci Diederichs said the 13 000 trees will take the reafforestation project from 62 500 trees to 75 500 — increasing the carbon sink they hope to create by more than 20%.


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