Eden District Municipality was officially recognised as the Greenest District Municipality on Monday, 3 November 2014 in Stellenbosch.
At a press conference held on Friday, 7 November 2014, Eden Executive Mayor, Cllr Wessie van der Westhuizen highlighted: “Having now won the award in two consecutive years is indicative of Eden District Municipality’s commitment and passion to conserve and protect the district’s natural resources which we all rely on for tourism and economic growth in our region.”
As mandated to the Municipality by the MEC, Mr Anton Bredell, the categories in which Eden District Municipality won as overall winner for 2014 include: Air Quality, Water Conservation, Waste Management, Biodiversity, Climate Change and Coastal Management. Mayor Van der Westhuizen therefore commended the following officials:
Portfolio Chairperson for Community Services, Bishop Henry Mc Combi, the Municipal Manager Mr Godfrey Louw, the Executive Manager of Community Services, Mr Clive Africa, as well and the Manager of Environmental Services, Mr Johan Compion for their management and capable leadership. Mayor Van der Westhuizen further said: “We remained in awe when it was announced that we won first places in all these categories and proud to have being bestowed upon us most of the trophies and a grand cheque of prize money to the value of R120 000.”
Mayor Van der Westhuizen congratulated Dr Johan Schoeman for his on-going passion and enthusiasm as he heads up the Air Quality Unit. The Air quality component of the GMC competition for districts this year weighed 25% of the total competition. Aspects of air quality that was evaluated consisted of Air Quality Capacity building within Eden District Municipality.
Further to this, is to promote cooperation amongst all spheres of government, business, industry and civil society through Eden’s air quality forums, industrial working groups and community participation processes. Eden implemented air quality management systems in the form of Information systems, AQMP`s, assistance with AQMP development on Local level, IDP input and budgeting. Eden effected compliance to air quality standards through compliance and enforcement initiatives, renewal of Atmospheric Emission licences and monitoring programmes. Eden also conducted passive air quality monitoring, vehicle emission testing as well as in stack monitoring of emissions and also initiated an Eden Clean fires campaign whereby communities are taught proper ways of making a “cleaner fire” for cooking and heating purposes.
With regard to Waste Management, there have been great strides in the Unit managed by Mr Morton Hubbe, with specifically reference to the progress made regarding the regional landfill site. The Waste Management Unit continues to actively contribute to a clean and healthy environment and vibrant economy for the Eden district, through responsible solid waste management practices, recognizing solid waste as a useful resource wherever possible. The Unit prides itself in providing sustainable and innovative waste management solutions that exceed the expectations of the residents in the Eden District municipal area. With the development of an Integrated District Waste Management Strategy which Eden provide for regional disposal facilities for Domestic and Hazardous waste with low hazard ratings, develop a Waste Information System and continue to encourage Waste Minimization in the District and also develop a Minimization Strategy in collaboration with the Municipalities in the District municipal area.
Mayor Van der Westhuizen further said: “In terms of Biodiversity, Climate Change, building the Green Economy and Coastal and Estuary Management, we salute Mr Vernon Gibbs-Halls who continues to pursue excellence in conserving our Eden’s receiving and living environment. Eden is happy to announce that we contributed state land to formalise the Robberg Protected Corridor – a first for South Africa. The development of the Eden Coastal Management Plan was again another first along with the Eden Climate Change Adaptation Plan.”
In coastal management, Eden strive to identify priority access points for the public, undertake compliance of illegal structures along our coast and estuaries, mitigate pollution, and partake in Marine Week and Coastal Clean-ups every year, along with Wetlands Day, Environmental Week and Arbor Week. Eden continually promotes the use of renewable energy having handed out over 2 000 Wonderbags, creating now a sewing group of ladies to make the bags and grow the green economy. In promoting this, Eden have embarked on a massive bee-keeping programme to train and provide hives for PDI’s along its coast and in the Little Karoo. Eden can again boast 14 Blue flags along its coast, with its pride and joy being the Wilderness Blue Flag, which Eden is sponsoring each year.
This year Eden undertook an innovative “out of the box” project by breaking a world record for estuary awareness in creating the largest underwater sculpture in the world to mark Knysna an official Hope Spot which is an internationally recognised accolade. The Unit is pursuing recognition of a UNESCO United Nations Biosphere Reserve aptly called the Nelson Mandela Biosphere reserve which will add further credence to the Garden Route National Park and re-affirm Eden District Municipality’s commitment towards protecting its green infrastructure on which all life depends. Of notable importance, the Unit has raised funds from many external partners whom Eden District Municipality would like to thank for their valuable efforts in assisting us as local government to partner with other organisations in our pledge to ensure that we do not compromise our natural splendour and ecological integrity and maintain our ecological services in perpetuity and for generations to come.