A clean and green City is an attractive City. That is why, the Municipality has committed itself to ensuring the implementation of several projects that will ensure the sustainability of our environment, thus making eThekwini a green-leading City.
According to our Integrated Development Plan, a five-year strategic plan document that guides Municipal policies and principles, the Municipality has the obligation to develop and sustain our spatial, natural and built environment.
This plan prescribes that mainstreaming and co-ordinating of environmental planning and climate protection promotes greater resilience to climate change impacts, protects environmentally sensitive areas and prime agricultural land and promotes a green economy.
For the past two years, eThekwini Municipality has been the proud winner of the National Arbor City Award. This accolade is due to the fact that we are not simply a City that plants trees but rather one that is passionate about the practise of urban forestry and its value relevant to urban biodiversity and the people of eThekwini. Our City is developing innovative programmes in citizenship education and the creation of novel ecosystems that takes the simple act of tree planting to a new level.
Through programmes such as the Urban Forestry, the Municipality creates a platform for local communities to actively be involved in the greening of their environments.
Urban Forestry is the care and management of urban trees with the purpose of improving the urban environment and making it more liveable. Our work in urban forestry advocates the important role of trees in forming a critical part of our City’s human, built and natural (ecosystem services) infrastructure.
This initiative has been rolled out to most parts of the City and has seen several members of the community volunteer their time and efforts to create get involved in creating beautiful vegetation in areas where there used to be invasive alien infested bush.
It goes without saying that trees have important benefits namely:
• Trees increase property values
• Trees produce oxygen, clean the air and reduce global warming
• Trees and sidewalk gardens reduce flooding and water pollution in a water sensitive city
• Trees calm traffic and will complement our City’s new rapid transport system
• Trees and sidewalk gardens increase revenues in shopping districts
• Trees and sidewalk gardens promote exercise improving health and wellbeing
Clean and Maintain My City
One of the key projects identified by the Municipality to achieve this goal is the Clean and Maintain My city, which was launched in 2013. Through this project, the Municipality is encouraging a culture of cleanliness amongst all citizens of the City. We encourage them to keep their local areas clean at all times. We have had great response and support from groups and individuals who have ensured the sustainability of this project at ward level.
Through this project, a group of volunteers in Folweni have been able to successfully clean several streams in the area which were infested with litter. As a result, the water from the streams is now being used by the community to water their community and personal gardens.
Clean and Maintain My City has also given birth to sub-programmes that do not only focus on the aesthetic look of the environment, but also seek to address socio-economic issues, combating crime and other factor.
The Buffelsdraai Landfill Site Community Reforestation Project
The project was initiated in November 2008. Whilst climate mitigation was the initial objective, the project has demonstrated substantive climate-change adaptation benefits. This is evident in the direct benefits to local communities and enhanced ecosystem services from the restored landscape.
Socio-economic benefits include increased education, food security and improved community livelihoods. Given its success, the project is now integral to the Municipality’s local community and ecosystem-based adaptation work-stream. The project is one the United Nations ‘Momentum for Change’ initiatives, which addresses climate change through climate-resilient and low-carbon mechanisms, while ensuring optimal benefits for local communities.
The project is implemented as a collaborative effort across municipal departments, as well as external service providers. People of the area collect and germinate indigenous seeds, and tree seedlings are then traded for credit notes, which can be exchanged for food, basic goods, or used to pay for school fees.
Ecological benefits include improved biodiversity refuges, water quality, river-flow regulation, flood mitigation, sediment control, visual amenity, and fire-risk reduction. The project has been validated by the Climate Community Biodiversity Alliance as delivering social, biodiversity and carbon sequestration benefits, at an international standard.
As the Municipality strives for Durban to be the most caring and liveable City by 2013, we will continue to introduce innovative ways of not only keeping the City beautiful, but beneficial to the economy as well
We encourage all citizens to get involved in local projects for not only for our benefit, but that of future generations as well.
One of the most important services provided by the Municipality in the field of recreation and environmental protection is the development and maintenance of a park and open space system.
This area includes:
Major natural system Parks/Gardens
Many of these open spaces fall within the eThekwini Metropolitan Open Space System which is a planned system which ecologically links some 2 100 ha of open space, including nine parks, river valleys and coastal land.
This open space within the Municipality is administered by the Parks Department of the Parks, Leisure and Culture Service Unit.
In addition to the establishment, maintenance and administration of this extensive network of recreational open space, the department also cares for over 700 000 street trees, maintains some 4 million m2 of verge in the municipality and enforces clearance of overgrowth on undeveloped land in private ownership.