Passion for promoting conservancy

2013-12-03 00:00

THE way we live affects our habitat, is a message that needs to be driven home, says the new management team of the Toti Conservancy.

“Our vision is to give a voice to the community and should be used as a mechanism and tool for society to interact with the government,” said deputy chairperson of the Toti Conservancy the Reverend Andrew Manning.

Manning, an environmental practitioner for the past 13 years, chairperson Laura Taylor, who has an environmental management degree, and treasurer Corinne Winson are passionate about environmental issues in and around Toti.

They currently head various projects, including dune rehabilitation, the repair and impact of the trunk sewer along Bernadotte Street, beaches and river maintenance, illegal sand mining, the condition of the lower Illovo steel bridge, illegal dumping and the new landfill site, alien vegetation, Metrorail’s work on the collapsed embankment and the Amanzimtoti River management plan — a mouthful considering the conservancy had modest beginnings in 2011, only focusing on getting Illanda Wilds formally protected.

Manning, Taylor and Winson say they encourage the community to think about what they do and what impact it makes on the environment.

“We want to offer direction and structure to the community with regards to projects such as these. The conservancy represents the community and it’s our task to build relationships with government departments and the municipality in order to have these environmental issues addressed,” Taylor says.

Manning and Winson agree with this and say that it’s their vision to capacitate people, listen to their complaints and put action to it.

They say the role of the conservancy in communities has changed over the past 40 years.

“Before, the focus were more on conservation and preservation. However, nowadays we are more of an urban conservancy dealing with environmental issues such as pollution, sewage and waste management. Our urban environment needs to be developed and managed in a sustainable way,” Winson says.

The three conclude that it is important to understand that the way we live affects our habitat.

“We have to follow the right path and live responsibly in our environment. Yes, we live here, but it is more important how we live here,” Manning says.

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