Services available in Swellendam at the moment
“Glass – all sorts of glass / Tin / Paper – newspaper..office paper..magazines…..Milk cartons (we didn’t take it before but we do now.) Plastic – all sorts of plastic bottles and bags and containers…Black pipe (the pipe that the farmers use)“
Recycle OLD TYRES
Oil, chemical waste, Bio-degradable garden refuse; a local nursery used to take it. Plastic and mixed waste caused them to stop. This can be solved.
We invite citizens in the Swellendam Municipal Area to join this Facebook Group : https://www.facebook.com/groups/1082813192082805 If you are passionate about this environment which we share, join us! We are looking to find ways to protect it, respect it, restore it and give it the best chance it has to survive. The forum is equivalent to a chat room, bringing awareness to various issues and to their possible solutions, sharing discoveries and the research we each do in areas of interest, and finding ways to gather together and get our hands dirty every now and then.
There is no formal body or leader of this group, just a few admins taking care of the Facebook page and sharing information, ideas and a general sense of positivity.
In January 2020, a group of concerned citizens (Clean Air) got together to raise awareness around the toxins that were being spewed into our environment from fires that had been burning on the Bontebok landfill site for years on and off. Within 12 days, the fires were extinguished and the management of the site was taken over by the municipal manager. Since then it has been cleaned up and seems to be managed well. In early March the Mayor called a public meeting to discuss the waste management situation and share possible futures, and after that the Clean Air whatsapp group was closed as it had fulfilled its function of having the fires extinguished.
Some of the Clean Air members initiated the Swellendam Enviro Solutions Forum facebook group for all those interested in continuing discussions regarding our environment in a broader sense.
These members have continued to liaise with the municipality to gather information, and have suggested we form a sub-group of SES as an interface with the municipality. The idea of this sub-group has been welcomed by the municipality, but is yet to be formed.
The areas of interest are:
Some of the projects undertaken by members of the group, assisted by volunteers, or led by other environmental groups are
Sometimes embarking on what seems a win – win situation can lead to some interesting discoveries. Assumptions can be made about what trees are suitable for the area – planting begins with great eagerness, and then experts with a great deal more knowledge pop up and the erstwhile enthusiasm is shot down in flames – “these trees are indigenous to South Africa, but not in the Swellendam Area”
Just an update on the river. Most of our efforts has been involved cleaning, picking up rubbish and digging out the difficult stuff. We have also cut down alien invasive species such as Spaanseriet and Black Wattle. Their removal is required by law and if on Municipal ground they again are not abiding by the law. We have planted over 40 indigenous trees which include False Olive, Tree Fuchsia, Breede River Yellowwood, Wild Peach, Red Karee and Wild Almond. The tree list was sent by Johann van Biljon from Green Intaba
But what is so wonderful about this group is the shared positivity and drive to find solutions. We are all learning – education about the environment is one of our core aims and so we were pleased to have the input of someone who had depth of knowledge about the subject.
Subsequently a member of the group contacted Lumka Madolo who is now supporting the efforts of the group with information and access to potential funding initiatives. She has visited the site and her report will be published soon.
Lumka is currently finalizing her Masters degree in Environmental Management specialising in river rehabilitation. She is the founder and director of Siyindalo Environmental Services involved or responsible for the ZWUA/NRM/WWF-SA Riviersonderend Restoration Project. She was kind enough to take us to a project whereby they restored a section of the river where a contractor had bulldozed the bank after building a bridge. It was great to see the river lined with Keurboom and palmiet amongst many other species. A similar thing was done to our river bank after the floods in 2008 where a contractor turned the river into a canal. She is very keen to put her company at work in sourcing funding and setting up a community based program to restore the entire river. This involves setting up a community based nursery which would provide much needed training, skills and employment for our youth.SES group
29th June: Met with Lumka. She is quite keen on the river restoration project. Took her on a short tour of the Klip River which is totally overgrown with Black Wattle and Beefwood. We then did a short inspection of the Koornlands River. Lumka will investigate funding and get back to us on the way forward.SES group
We have in Swellendam a wonderful project that might become orphaned soon. Andrew of Masbiekerskloof project put out the word that he’ll be moving along. He had a great vision and followed up with physical action and huge community involvement. What will become of the project? Cleaning up an open area is not a once off. It is an ongoing effort. Ask the municipality, they know . To a significant portion of us garbage is acceptable and we throw it wherever we please. To some of us it is not and we pick up what we find. To take from a community what they have (in your eyes a dump site) and replace it with something else of your choice (in your eyes a pretty green park with short green grass and expensive equipment, like on the video) might or might not be the solution. I think simple solutions might be key. If you want the garbage picked up do so. Ask a friend to help. Ask the guy living opposite the cleared area if he would mind adding the waste to his waste stream. Doing that will send a message. Ask the guy next door to help. Happen to have a ball and kick it about a bit to invlove the children. Assign trivial values to different garbage items and have a treasure hunt. Play and have fun while cleaning up. But bever forget – you decided there must be change. What you do not drive do not exist. It is a lifestyle…Beneke de Wet