The glamorous inaugural Free State ‘Cleanest and Greenest Municipality Competition’ saw Earth warriors swap overalls for cocktail dresses and bowties. Filled with tension and excitement, the Phillip Sanders resort where the event was held, was packed with nominees waiting to hear whose municipality or service providers had won.
And the winners are…
The biggest winner on the night was Clarens, scooping three awards in the best local municipality cleanest and greenest programmes implemented; the best township conservancies and/or public participation, as well as the cleanest town.
The best municipality in job creation through environmental projects was awarded to Maluti-a-Phofung and the cleanest ward went to Parys, Ngwathe.
The schools competition award went to Sechaba se Maketse High School who also received laptops for the learners and teachers,
PETCO walked away with the best supporting company for waste recycling facilities, they were also honoured for their training and awareness programmes as well as their donation of equipment to those recycling facilities. Plastics SA walked away with the ‘first-runner-up’ prize in this category.
Special awards were presented to environmental officers in recognition of their contributions to programmes such as air quality, waste management, environmental municipal official, the Expanded Public Works Programme, environmentalist culture and Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) support.
Most of the municipalities who entered the competition were present to receive recognition for their part they in conserving SA’s natural resources and environment.
The Cleanest and Greenest Municipality Competition Awards is aligned with the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS), calling for national government to support capacity building in municipalities. The NWMS was initiated by the DEA and the Department of Economic, Small Business, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) to maintain a clean, safe and healthy environment for all.
In his keynote address, MEC for DESTEA Dr Benny Molokoane said, “The problem with environmentally unfriendly towns and municipalities is that patrons who pick up bad habits are destroying our environment.”
The MEC stressed that, “these negative behaviours play a part in the preservation or destruction of our environments. This is why there is a need to teach the next generation about greening and cleaning their settlements in order to make our environment a healthy place to live.
The objectives of the competition are the promotion of a clean and healthy environment in all the selected provincial municipalities through greening, cleaning and beautification exercises. Employing annual contract workers through the promotion of youth employment is also an important factor. Ideally, participating municipalities involve the National Youth Service Corporations and the Youth Environment Service project in creating community parks.
Through involving the youth, clean living spaces are created by inspiring communities to clean-up, fix up and conserve their environment. Attitudes are changed from within homes by raising awareness and educating Free State families about good waste management practices. Additionally, municipalities and their communities are encouraged to take part in the minimisation of waste in their towns and townships by participating in green initiatives.
The competition aims to encourage and ensure sustainable development by creating job while promoting best practises in environmental management.
The award ceremony was held on 3 March, 2017.