Tongaat Hulett partnered with the eThekwini municipality, Leitch Landscapes and the Magwaveni community in Tongaat to implement a community clean-up campaign. The objective of the campaign was to improve the public spaces in and around the Magwaveni community that have been neglected. The clean-up targeted sidewalks, the area around the taxi rank and areas near the local streams. The clean-up further focused on the removal of alien plants next to the sidewalks and the residential area.
The day started with all the locals identifying the areas that required the most urgent attention; the grouping of the participants and the distribution of clean up supplies. The day ended with a report back by the team.
Tongaat Hulett, eThekwini and Leitch Landscapes restored 3 sidewalks that had been used as dumping sites and also used for illegal activities. The trash collected including broken glasses, small pieces of furniture, discarded food, tyres, cloth and paper. Over 200 bags of trash were collected by Leitch Landscape and eThekwini waste management team.
Sikhumbuzo Ntshiza, Tongaat site manager, said that Leitch’s Landscapes had been eager to participate in the campaign as most of their employees were from the Magwaveni community. The employees had always requested the company to invest in this community. Leitch Landscapes therefore hoped that the company’s participation in the clean-up campaign will go a long way in enhancing the quality of life of the community members at Magwaveni. Living in a clean environment makes life healthier, less stressful and more pleasant.
Nurse Mthantatho, Education Officer, Cleaning and Solid Waste within eThekwini Municipality said that waste management remains one of the biggest challenges in urban areas including townships and within the informal settlement. The proliferation of waste is attributed to many factors including: lack of recognition of community’s role in waste management; rapid urban growth, lack of environmental education, inadequate bins and irregularities in waste collection by the responsible authorities
Nkonzo Mhlongo, Corporate Affairs Executive said that Tongaat Hulett had been approached by the municipality and the Magwaveni community to participate in the Magwaveni clean-up campaign. The company recognises that large amounts of trash, garbage and other waste create unsanitary conditions that encourages the development of health problems and diseases. Such environments also makes it difficult for children to find a safe place to play, increasing stress for everyone who lives in it. Cleaning it up provides real and immediate health benefits for the community members as well as helping them think about the possibility of community wellbeing.
Tongaat Hulett also supported Sartech Waste Management and Recycling Incubator. Sartech is a non-governmental organisation that provides training on waste management and recycling. Sartech has working relationships with organisations such as SEDA which provides business management training to budding entreprenuers; DSW which ensures that there is alignment between the broader agenda of eThekwini municipality on issues relating to waste management, transformation, business development and communities; and the local ward Councillors to ensure that the grassroots start-ups are allocated a space to operate. Tongaat Hulett donated resources to ensure that the local businesses have the relevant resources including collection bags.