A walk on the wild side with plastic bags in hand
MISS Earth SA regional semi-finalist Annemieke van Aarde has traded her stilettos and the catwalk to give the rough terrain at the Eco-Glen Nature Reserve in Tshwane a much-needed clean-up.
The project was done ahead of World Environment Day, a global call for taking action on urgent environmental issues, which is celebrated today.
In preparation for the day, Van Aarde, pupils from Maragon Olympus Private High School and ward councillor Pieter van Heerden got close with nature.
Leading the pack was Van Aarde, who collected dispersed waste on paths, in the reeds, at the bank of the river and in the forest.
They mostly found plastic bags, cans and bottles. The pupils were surprised by the huge amount of garbage they collected in a very short time.
Van Aarde, a third-year student at the University of Pretoria, who is majoring in sociology and English literature, said she had entered Miss Earth because of the focus on social responsibility and environmental protection.
“I am passionate about people and seek to distil the values of the protection of human rights, animal rights and the respect for natural resources within communities. In doing so, I believe we are able to protect the most vulnerable members of society,” she said.
The theme for World Environment Day 2017 is Connecting People to Nature, which invites people to enjoy the outdoors and take forward the call to protect the earth.
Van Aarde was asked to organise and host a clean-up within the local community for World Environment Day.
“I chose Eco-Glen as it is important to look after our precious natural environments and delicate eco-systems. These natural environments and their eco-systems are under constant pressure due to their location within the city,” she said.
Van Heerden was excited and said he had never seen anybody doing a similar initiative. “It is a great educational awareness because people’s living habits have a huge impact on nature. We need to understand that we along with nature are one,” he said.
Eco-Glen Nature Reserve forms part of the Moreleta outfall, which runs through most of Tshwane and is a much bigger ecosystem running into the northern part of the country and eventually ends up in Mozambique.
CARE: Annemieke van Aarde helped clean nature reserve.