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Reconnect with nature, preserve the environment - MMC De Jager Print E-mail
06 June 2017

The City of Joburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services Councillor Nico de Jager said people have distanced themselves from nature.

Speaking during a World Environment Day event at Mshenguville Park in Mofolo, Soweto on Monday, 5 June MMC De Jager said human beings had over time reduced their positive contact with nature.

World Environment Day, a United Nations' initiative has been observed annually since 1974 to raise awareness of the need to protect and preserve the environment.

This year’s event in Soweto in Region D was attended by, among others, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba, Pikitup Managing Director Lungile Dlamini, Miss Earth South Africa Executive Director Catherine Constantinides, Canadian High Commissioner to South Africa Sandra McCardell and Regional Director of the United Nations' Environment Programme Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga.

MMC De Jager said: "It is interesting to note that the theme for the World Environment Day this year is 'Connecting People To Nature'.

"As the human race, we have developed technology to connect with space. We have developed sophisticated satellites and we can send signals across millions of light years in the hope of connecting with extra-terrestrial civilisation. But we have reduced positive contact with nature. Nature and the environment are the source of life without which we wouldn't exist," MMC De Jager explained.

He said Joburg’s sustainable growth was premised on five pillars. "One of the pillars specifically frames the Environment and Infrastructure Services portfolio’s mandate, namely to enhance the quality of life by improving services and taking care of the environment," he said.

"That is why we must ensure that we reduce the consumption of natural resources; reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the impact of climate change and specifically extreme weather events; minimise environmental pollution - air, water and waste to land; and protect the City’s natural environment," he said.

MMC De Jager said since the new administration came into office in August 2016, the City had adopted a strategic climate-change framework that set a roadmap to an integrated climate change strategy.

"The climate change strategic framework focuses on institutionalising climate change within the organisation because all sectors must make a concerted effort to address climate change," he said.
De Jager echoed Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba’s sentiments that illegal dumping was costing the City millions of rand a year.

“Illegal dumping and littering are costing Pikitup in the region of R80-million per annum. That is a lot of money going to waste, excuse the pun, instead of spending that money on initiatives to reduce waste in the City," he said.

MMC De Jager said the City of Joburg would spend more than R23-million on waste management programmes. He noted that his department would implement separation at source in more than 300 of the City's facilities.

"We aim to divert over 60% to 70% of waste from landfill sites by the end of the term, saving massively on the landfill space," he said.

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Last Updated on 06 June 2017