Inaugural South African Green Schools Programme takes off in Limpopo
THE Department of Environmental Affairs launched ‘South Africa’s Greenest Schools Programme’ at the Mosasane Baloyi Primary School in Limpopo in April 2017.
“The Greenest Schools Programme (SAGSP) is still in its infancy stage but our vision is to make it a leading environmental management and award initiative working with primary and high schools across the country,” said Deputy Minister Barbara Thomson.
“The care for, and protection of, our environment has to start at a young age and I would like to express my thanks to everyone involved in taking this proactive step to nurture in our younger generation an appreciation of the importance of environmental care and protection.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to meet so many like-minded individuals who share our passion for the environment and who are willing to contribute towards its protection.
“I am particularly pleased with the participation of so many primary and high school learners during the processes that led up to this point where we recognise and reward them for taking stewardship of their environment.
“In this regard, a special thank you must go to the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET), which worked closely with us on this schools-based awareness campaign pilot project.
“Through implementing this programme, we're seeking to reduce our schools' environmental impact in both everyday practices and surroundings and advance environmental learning.
“We will raise awareness about the problem of environmental plundering and how it affects their future. The programme will engender an appreciation for our environment by showing how it serves as the source of livelihood.
“We will turn our learners into environmental ambassadors and educate them on how to reduce and manage waste by having zero-waste and litter-free schools,” concluded the Deputy Minister.
As part of the SAGSP initiative, learners from at least 105 schools in and around Limpopo province displayed their projects that focus on environmental conservation.
Participating schools presented the following environmental themes: Waste Management, Energy Efficiency and Conservation; Water Management and Conservation; Landscaping, Tree Planting and Beautification, Public Participation and Community Empowerment, Leadership and Institutional Arrangements to the Deputy Minister and MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Seaparo Sekwati.
The twelve schools that made it to the finals shared insightful but simple examples of how they and in turn other schools wishing to participate in the programme can green their schools.
Learners from PAX College shared how they have planted grass and shrubs to reduce soil erosion in their school in Polokwane. Intermediate phase entrant, Sudzulusani Primary School empowers and involves the public in its green school project by encouraging parents to assist with the vegetable garden.
The Blue Crane award recipient, Ramatlho School shared how it uses sod covers over the grass and soil to protect soil from being washed away by rainwater.
Winning schools received prizes up to the value of R100000, which were not given as cash but enabled the schools to choose projects, which further the objectives of the broader mandate of DEA, such as purchasing of water tanks, vegetable garden implements and seeds, initiating a recycling programme, installation of renewable energy, creating school and community parks.
Winners of the intermediate phase of the inaugural South African Green Schools .