5 June 2003

South Africa: Metcalfe Launches R3.2m Environmental Awareness Competition

Pretoria — Gauteng Agriculture, Conservation, Environmental and Land Affairs MEC Mary Metcalfe today launched a R3.2-million competition to encourage communities throughout the province to protect and improve their environment.

The Bontle ke Botho (beauty is humanity) competition is aimed at mobilising communities to embark on actions that will help improve the environment.

The competition promotes 'cleaning and greening' of the environment and is run under the theme: 'Water, sanitation and human settlement'.

Municipaties, wards and schools have been invited to jointly initiate and implement practical environmental projects focusing on waste, sanitation and hygiene awareness within communities.

They are also required to develop action plans that will be implemented during the span of the campaign in ways that would be deemed as helpful to improve both the state of the environment and quality of people's life.

About 241 wards and 601 schools around Gauteng are participating in the competition. The launch of the 'cleaning and greening' competition coincides with World Environmental Day, celebrated globally today.

South Africa's theme for World Environment Day is 'My environment, my life', which focuses on issues such as access to clean air, environment and fresh water.

Ms Metcalf addressed over six hundred people in Nasrec, Johannesburg, and said this year's Botle ke Botho campaign would provide communities with a platform to raise mass awareness and promote efficient planning and implementation of practical programmes such as waste and littering, and the proper use of energy.

'We have this campaign which comes as a form of competition, so we need to use it to mobilise each other on the need to live in a healthy environment,' Ms Metcalfe said.

She said the campaign would encourage people to become active participants in promoting a sustainable environment and equitable living.

MEC Metcalf said there would be greater understanding and change of attitude towards the environment if communities and schools played a pivotal role in highlighting crucial environmental issues.

The campaign was introduced last year as part of preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which took place in Johannesburg.

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