Cedric Mboyisa

They came. They saw. They cleaned.

Volunteers from the private and public sectors converged at the South African Sugar Terminal for the 2019 World Environment Day to clean Maydon Wharf and highlight the plight of nature due to air pollution caused, mainly, by humans.

The clean-up campaign, spearheaded by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), saw a concerted assault on pollution around the harbour area. This year’s World Environment Day’s focal point is air pollution, and TNPA’s slogan is “Say Yes To Less Air Pollution”. South African Sugar Association (SASA) Commercial Director Judith Wilson stressed that air quality was very important. She pledged SASA’s support for efforts aimed at reducing emissions.

Delivering a keynote address, eThekwini Metro Municipality’s meteorologist, Modise Molefe, unpacked the history of air pollution and gave an update on the current state of the unfortunate phenomenon. In his presentation, he revealed that air pollution was the world’s single greatest environmental risk to health. 

Almost 7 million people across the world died prematurely every year from exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution, a situation which he said was also confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). According to WHO, some 570 000 children under the age of five die from respiratory infections such as pneumonia, attributable to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke each year. A very worrying picture!

Clockwise: Port Manager, Nokuzola Nkowane; SASA Commercial Director, Judith Wilson; eThekwini Metro Municipality’s Meteorologist, Modise Molefe; and volunteers during the 2019 World Environment Day.

Port Manager, Nokuzola Nkowane, urged everyone to become ambassadors for recycling. “We must be ashamed of ourselves… how we have treated the environment,” she said. She revealed that, due to polluted air, she had developed breathing problems which she had never experienced before. She made an impassioned plea for people to take care of their environment and promote cleanliness in their spaces.

All those attending the 2019 World Environmental Day were split into groups of three. The clean-up campaign was a success.