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Arbor Week Celebrations

Mpumalanga’s Arbor Week event for 2017 took place in Mkhondo, on Thursday, 7 September.

The national theme for the week is “Forests and Water”, due to the drought that South Africa faces. The provincial theme is “Beautify Mpumalanga – Start at Home”, to raise awareness on the importance of protecting nature. Several people were invited to visit one of the Rural Integrated Waste Management Pro-jects.

These projects are run by Mondi, Inkomati- Usuthu Catchment Management Agency, Mkhondo Local Municipality, Community Work Programme (CWP) and the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA). In the Excelsior News of 3 March an article was published, explaining how these landfill sites work. The money collected by the CWPworkers from recycling, is used to buy vegetable seeds. The vegetables which are grown in the communal vegetable gardens are then sold for further funds, and also used to feed the community.

According to a representative from DARDLEA, these communities generate more funds by selling their vegetables than they receive for the recyclables. Up to this stage in 2017, 3 100 kilograms of waste was recycled at these landfill sites. At the event on Thursday, New Home was announced as the winning group for the work that they do at their landfill site.

The CWP-workers The CWP-workers from New Homes receiving garden tools The headmaster at Kemp Siding School was shown how the trees have to be planted and how a bottle can be used to minimise the water needed for the tree will be visiting a nature reserve for their prize. Mdukuzane came in second place and Thandukukhanya came third. Two tree species have been selected as the trees of the year.

The common species is the ziziphus mucronata, better known as the Buffalo Thorn or Blinkblaar – wag-‘n-bietjie. The rare species is the euclea pseudebenus, better known as the Black Ebony or Ebbehout-ghwarrie. Trees from these two species will be planted across Mkhondo, until the end of September.

After the landfill site and vegetable garden were visited, the visitors all went to Kemp Siding School where a ceremonial tree was planted. The school was also taught how to use a 2 litre cold drink bottle to ensure that the minimal amount of water is needed to water the tree.

Among the stakeholders for the day were Mondi, PG Bison, the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA), Inkomati- Usuthu Catchment Management Agency, Working on Fire, Mkhondo Local Municipality and Gert Sibande District Municipality. Thank you to everyone who made this day possible and who works tirelessly to keep Mkhondo clean. Our area shows how important trees can be to help people survive so it is fitting to celebrate Arbor Week here.

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