The Ekurhuleni municipality is showing other metros how it is done. This week is Arbour Week in South Africa (1 September to 7 September) and they are planting 1 250 trees in Duduza, as part of the remembrance of the tornado that hit the area a year ago. Some 733 trees were planted on Tuesday of this week, 280 fruit trees, 193 ornamentals at houses and 300 along the streets. The remaining trees will be donated to schools, nursery schools and clinics throughout the township.

Arbor Week, hosted by the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs, serves to promote awareness for the need to plant and maintain indigenous trees throughout South Africa, especially for the many disadvantaged communities who often live in barren areas. It is important that South Africans remain aware of urban greening initiatives. Johannesburg, for example, is the biggest urban forest in the world with more than 10 million trees.

Forests form an important part of South Africa’s natural resource base and make a significant contribution to the economy. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry plays a key role in developing, managing and regulating the country’s forest resources.

In urban areas, trees play a vital role in the well-being not only of the planet, but also our immediate environment; so much so that they can even protect communities from being destroyed by serving as a windbreaker during heavy storms.

The City of Ekurhuleni has dedicated itself to being ‘cleaner and greener’ than ever and has been on an awareness drive since March this year. The Cleaner and Greener Ekurhuleni Starts with You campaign involves various activities focusing on different elements of caring for one’s environment.

On Spring Day, the residents of Boksburg in Reiger Park and Vosloorus, Unilever and schools in the Boksburg area cleaned the surroundings of Boksburg Lake with the help of the metro.

In the meanwhile the metro also announced and joint venture with Mpact Recycling (formerly known as Mondi) by launching a programme to encourage schools to recycle paper and educate learners about environmental issues. It includes kerbside collections, school and community paper banks, collections from townhouse complexes and offices, as well as small business buy-back centres. The paper banks provide convenient storage for the recovered paper and access for collection.

“Paper recycling can save up to three square metres of landfill space per tonne subsequently reducing transport costs for the Metro,” explains metro spokesperson Sam Modiba adding that “papers can be recycled at least seven times.”

As part of rolling out this project to communities, residents in most areas will be provided with a Ronnie Bag to fill with paper and it shall be collected weekly. This bag can be placed on the pavement outside your gate before 07h30 on the day of your collection. The bag will be emptied and returned to be reused.

For more information on any of these programmes, including the kerbside collection calendar, please visit www.paperpickup.co.za or call Mpact Recycling on 011 538 8600.