World Environment Day

Jun 12, 2024 | General News

World Environment Day led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been held annually since 1973 on the 5th of June.

This year’s World Environment Day theme focuses on land restoration, desertification and drought resilience. The main aim of this day is to highlight the importance of protecting the environment and raise awareness about caring for the environment by taking supportive actions which are critical in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

1. To raise awareness about caring for the environment, GCBR’s Marinda van As and Leila Moosajee visited a creche in Kwanokuthula (Riversdale) where they gave a short talk on why we should love our earth. After the talk the kids upcycled toilet roll cores and created their own butterflies. The school was also supplied with treats and recycle boxes that would give the kids the opportunity to practice how to recycle properly.

    2. World environment day could also not be celebrated without giving recognition to the teams working in field every day playing a tremendous role in land restoration through the removal of alien invasive plants within the GCBR domain and a pivotal part in conserving the environment. To understand what a typical day is like for the teams, Leila Moosajee asked some of the health and safety committee members a few questions and these were the responses:

      Q: Why do you think the work that you do is important?

      “The work we do is very important because the alien trees consume up all the water, if we don’t eradicate them our people won’t really have much water. We are making a difference.”- Johanna May

      “Alien clearing is of uttermost importance to maintain balance in the natural ecosystem. The invasive alien plants are drying out our rivers and out-competing our indigenous plant, they influence and enhance the erosion of our riverbanks and mountain areas, so by us removing them we are helping to restore the balance and give our indigenous flora time to flourish.” – Alfrieda September

      Q: What is a typical day for the team like in field:

      “A typical day consist of hard manual labour and continuous focus throughout the day. Teamwork and effective communication are very important. Effective communication between the contractor and his team makes the process easier.” – Alfrieda September

      Q: What are the methods you use to control or eliminate the alien invasive plants?

      “To eliminate invasive alien plants, we typically used the cut stump method where we chop down the alien plant species and apply herbicide, or by foliar spray where we spray the leaves where the alien plant is at hip height.

      At selected sites we use selective clearing methods, where younger plants are removed from the area, the bigger trees are then ringbarked and systematic herbicides are applied, which gives the indigenous plants chance to grow and flourish, leaving the invasives to deteriorate over a period. This process creates a systematic canopy for the indigenous plants.” – Alfrieda September

      “Herbicide and frilling.” – (John Albertyn)

      Q: What do you enjoy most about working in field?

      “The fact that I can be of assistance to the restoration and conservation of our fauna and flora. I enjoy the daily challenges that comes from doing this job from managing stacks and rows to communicating during tree felling and cross-cutting. Working in field provides me with a sense of purpose.” – Alfrieda September

      “For me working in the field is a great experience. Nature is wonderful. You see the sun coming up in the distance in the morning and then you see your work family with whom you spend most of your day where we share jokes while we work. We have a “father” with whom we can share everything, we don’t see him as our boss even if he is strict, he is always fair.” – Johanna May

      “I love being out in nature because I can admire the plants, animals, and the variety of insects.”  – John Albertyn

      Q: What do you find challenging about working in field?

      “When you are in field anything can be a challenge from walking the terrain, to finding a place to eat or to store herbicide. The most challenging part is staying physically capable and navigating in mountainous areas, before and after completing the days task. Inclines and ditches are challenges on their own.”  – Alfrieda September

      “Walking across rivers is most challenging but also great fun.”  – John Albertyn

      “I find It most challenging when logs must be carried far and stacked, the other challenge is when it rains, and we cannot work.” – Johanna May

      “Our land. Our future. We are #GenerationRestoration.”

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