The cleanliness of the province’s municipalities is often a touchy subject for residents. While some towns boast litter-free streets and clean tap water, other municipalities bring the word cleanliness to shame.
Municipal cleanliness was put in the spotlight last Friday at the Environmental Management Awards held at the Civic Theatre in Kroonstad. The Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Destea) spokesperson, Kgotso Tau, said the annual awards aim to encourage municipalities to take responsibility for their cleanliness.
“There are municipalities who are consistent with their efforts to keep their environment clean, but unfortunately there are municipalities who are lagging far behind and there are many contributing factors. Some municipalities are lagging behind because they need assistance with their landfill sites, some because their infrastructure has aged or is overburdened by growing communities, and others have problems with their old fleet or lack of other resources they need to use to ensure they can service residents on an acceptable level,” said Tau.
Under the theme, “We Love Our Environment, We Love Free State” the awards aim to change the attitude of communities by raising awareness and educating the province on good waste practices. “In order to show that they can up their game when it comes to environment management as well as refuse removal, the issues around bio-diversity, energy efficiency, water conservation waste management and air quality are the categories which the municipalities are being adjudicated on,” he added.
In addition to the awards 40 people have been selected as part of the department’s Wildlife Black Game Rangers Transformation Programme. “Through this programme the department is working on transforming the game or wildlife industry in the Free State, and through it we are introducing black game rangers in to the wildlife industry. 40 people who applied to be a part of this programme where verified and have qualified to be a part of this programme.
“Yes, we are making progress, yes there are challenges, yes we hope that we overcome these and yes, we are very hopeful that we will win this battle of cleanliness in all our municipalities,” concluded Tau.
– Seithati Semenokane