Green­est city to KZN’s detri­ment

The Mercury - - OPINION -

WOULD you be­lieve it? Jo­han­nes­burg is the green­est city in the coun­try. South Africa’s big­gest con­crete jun­gle has been de­clared the win­ner of the 2017 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 the fairest Cape Town and sunny Dur­ban?

But Dur­ban should not de­spair. It is a strong con­tender for the dirt­i­est city in the coun­try.

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 KwaZulu-Natal 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 for this won­der­ful achieve­ment, we can­not con­done their self­ish be­hav­iour.

At a time when the coun­try was cry­ing out for rain and there were 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 onto 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. Such in­con­sid­er­ate and self­ish be­hav­iour is a down­right cheek and shows lack of ma­tu­rity and re­spon­si­bil­ity.

T MARKANDAN Sil­ver­glen

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