Joburg is running a paper-free campaign to raise awareness of environmental issues among its staff. Residents are urged to get on board as well.
THE City is running a competition for its employees to raise awareness of different aspects of “going green” as part of National Environment Week.
Tree plantingTree planting will be doneOrganised by Joburg’s department of environmental management, the competition serves to highlight environmental conservation. It is based around World Environment Day, an initiative of the United Nations which falls annually on 5 June.
The electronic campaign and competition will run until 10 June.
Environment Week is a global event, and South African cities such as Joburg celebrate it by hosting a week-long series of events. These include clean-up campaigns, tree-planting initiatives, environment-related plays and poetry presentations.
Every year a different theme is selected, with this year’s being “Forests: Nature at your Service”. The City has embraced this and is running a non-paper campaign. “We will be sending different messages to staff every day on different aspects of how to keep our offices green,” said Joburg’s deputy director of communications, Nthatisi Modingoane.
There will also be daily quizzes in which participants can win a selection of “green” prizes. Energy efficiency is the focus of Monday’s test; waste minimisation will come under the microscope on Tuesday; water conservation is Wednesday’s topic; climate change will be looked at on Thursday; and environmental compliance will round off the week’s quizzes on Friday.
“We will be running the quizzes via email and the first, tenth and thirtieth responses with the correct answers will win prizes,” said Kobedi Pilane, from the environmental management department. “Prizes include mechanical torches, picnic baskets to encourage people to go outside and memory sticks, among others.”
A prize-giving would be held every two days, with the winners from today’s quiz getting their prizes tomorrow, and Wednesday and Thursday’s winners being awarded on Thursday. Friday’s winners would be announced and would receive their prizes on Friday, though, Pilane said. The ceremonies will take place at lunch time.
City employees are cleaning up ilegal dumping spots in SowetoCity employees are cleaning up illegal dumping spots in Soweto“The drive of the campaign for the entire week will be: adopt a green way of life. Start at the office and take this lifestyle home,” Modingoane added.
It is not only aimed at City employees, though. “Many people feel they can’t do anything for environmental protection because they can’t afford to buy a hybrid car, add solar panels to their home or make other expensive changes. But even little actions can help.”
The City has compiled a list of these actions that everyone can carry out. They are:
Recycle newspapers, magazines, bottles, cans and plastic bags;
Use canvas bags for groceries;
Use rechargeable batteries and energy-saving light bulbs;
Use glass or ceramic mugs and cups rather than disposable ones;
Turn off lights in unused rooms and switch off all lights at the end of the day;
Open window blinds or curtains to let in the sunshine during winter and close them on hot summer days;
Carpool or share transport as often as possible;
Use email or other forms of electronic communication – if printing is necessary, use both sides of the paper;
Set computers and printers to “sleep” mode or to power down when not in use;
Put live plants in living areas of your home and office to act as air filters to replenish the oxygen and purify the air;
Save information on disks or memory sticks and use refillable pens;
Use recycled coffee filters and buy reusable water bottles;
Recycle clothing by donating old clothes;
Use phosphate-free laundry detergent;
Repair or report leaky taps and toilets promptly to save water;
Use a programmable thermostat in your office and home to lower heating/cooling bills;
Buy products with the least amount of packaging;
Turn off your car ignition if idling for longer than 30 seconds in order to save petrol and lower emissions;
Share extra plants and bulbs instead of throwing them away when you are clearing your flower beds; and
Dress for the weather to avoid unnecessary use of air conditioners and heaters.
World Environment Day was first observed in 1972. The United Nation Environment Programme says on its website. “[It] has grown to become one of the main vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.
“Through WED [World Environment Day], the UN Environment Programme is able to personalise environmental issues and enable everyone to realise not only their responsibility but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development.”
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