SA’s greenest city – but to KZN’s cost
Would you believe it? Johannesburg is the greenest city in the country.
The country’s biggest concrete jungle has been declared the winner of this year’s Greenest Municipality competition.
How could this congested, over-populated, crime-ridden city, belching out smoke and toxic fumes with nothing interesting to see but mine dumps, concrete and tar, beat fairest Cape Town and sunny Durban?
Winters are an unpleasant experience in Gauteng. It’s bitterly cold, dusty, and the dry air makes your skin itch like you’ve got leprosy.
Every opportunity Gautengers get, they make a dash to the lush, green KwaZuluNatal coast. So how did Johannesburg do it?
Surprisingly, Johannesburg has a lot of green spaces and the streets of the suburbs are lined with trees, which play a crucial role in purifying the dirty air. But the secret lies underground, in the irrigation systems in the gardens of many homes.
Some even have them on the verge. In winter, when the earth is parched, they simply turn on the irrigation to keep the grass and the exotics green.
While we compliment the municipality and the residents on this wonderful achievement, we cannot condone their selfish behaviour.
At a time when the country is crying out for rain and there are water restrictions countrywide, Gauteng residents couldn’t care less about the water crisis gripping the country. I saw several residents in Benoni openly defying the ban on hoses and sprinklers.
At one home the sprinkler was turned on and precious water was running down the driveway into the road. I was appalled to see such wastage of this vital resource.
But what filled me with indignation was that some of this water in Johannesburg comes from KZN. It is pumped from the Tugela, over the Drakensberg, to supplement the Vaal – to keep the economic engine of the country running. But some Gautengers abuse this kind gesture from KZN by watering their lawns, verges and exotics, in the middle of winter.
Was the devastating hailstorm in parts of Gauteng and Mpumalanga punishment for such inconsiderate and selfish behaviour? T MARKANDAN