Could t­his be a ‘first in A­fri­ca’ for Knys­na?

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Nuus | News -

Bi­oWi­se, a lo­cal NGO that pro­mo­tes the practi­ce of bi­o­mi­mi­cry, laun­ched the “Was­te No­thing Knys­na” cam­paign in Gre­a­ter Knys­na t­his month.

Exe­cu­ti­ve di­rec­tor Sue S­wain says the pro­ject falls un­der the “bu­si­ness u­nu­su­al” ap­pro­ach in­tro­du­ced by Bi­oWi­se af­ter the fi­res in Ju­ne last y­e­ar.

“We need to com­ple­te­ly re­think how we do t­hings rat­her than just con­tinuing as be­fo­re. Being bio-wi­se, or e­arth-sa­vvy, is re­al­ly not a c­hoi­ce a­ny­mo­re. We can no lon­ger tre­at our na­tu­ral re­sour­ces as un­li­mi­ted sup­plies to be o­ve­r­ex­ploi­ted and u­sed un­wi­se­ly. Ca­pe Town’s cur­rent wa­ter si­tu­a­ti­on is a per­fect ex­am­ple of how an at­ti­tu­de of per­cei­ved un­li­mi­ted re­sour­ces can co­me back to bi­te you,” says S­wain.

Les­sons from na­tu­re

“In na­tu­ral e­cosys­tems li­ke a fo­rest, re­sour­ces are u­sed spa­ringly and no­thing is was­ted. E­ver­y­thing is lo­cal­ly u­p­cy­cled and re­cy­cled to re­ple­nish w­hat was u­sed, and col­la­bo­ra­ti­on and fos­te­ring part­ners­hips is the na­me of the ga­me,” she says. “E­very or­ga­nism has a ro­le to play in t­his, acti­ve­ly con­tri­bu­ting to main­tai­ning a he­althy, re­si­lient sy­stem a­ble to re­spond and a­dapt to chan­ging con­di­ti­ons. In such a sy­stem, no­thing is was­ted, the­re is no pol­lu­ti­on and no u­nem­ploy­ment. That is our vi­si­on for Knys­na,” she adds.

Was­te No­thing Knys­na will look at how re­sour­ces are de­alt with a­cross all sec­tors, i.e. ma­te­ri­als, wa­ter, spa­ce, e­ner­gy and tra­di­ti­o­nal was­te. S­wain is tackling t­his to­get­her with a te­am com­pri­sing Jen­ni­fer Too­l­ey, Nic­ci Rous­seau-S­chmidt and Ni­na Li­ge­ti.

P­ha­se one

“T­his is a long-term pro­gram­me. P­ha­se one, running from March to Sep­tem­ber 2018, will pri­ma­ri­ly fo­cus on cre­a­ting a­wa­re­ness, fa­ci­li­ta­ting in­put from the Gre­a­ter Knys­na com­mu­ni­ty, i­den­ti­fying re­sour­ces and ex­per­ti­se and fin­ding see­ding i­de­as to be acti­o­ned in p­ha­se two,” says S­wain.

One of the i­ni­ti­a­ti­ves the pro­gram­me aims to ad­dress is to re­du­ce the 2 200 tons of monthly mu­ni­ci­pal was­te that is car­ted a­way to be pro­ces­sed in Mos­sel Bay by half by the y­e­ar 2021.

Con­vert trash to cash

S­wain says we ha­ve to re­think our was­te ha­bits and s­tart seeing was­te as a re­sour­ce. “We ha­ve to say no to sin­gle-use plas­tic and un­ne­ces­sa­ry pack­a­ging, sup­port u­p­cy­cling pro­jects li­ke the bott­le bricks and col­la­bo­ra­te with re­si­dents on ot­her u­p­cy­cling op­por­tu­ni­ties. Was­te as a re­sour­ce o­pens up a mul­ti­tu­de of op­por­tu­ni­ties for SMMEs to con­vert trash to cash.”

With re­gards to wa­ter, S­wain says they are in­ves­ti­ga­ting ways to “bring the fo­rest back in­to Knys­na”, to “plant the rain” and har­vest our storm­wa­ter for fu­tu­re use, both at pri­va­te ho­mes and in mu­ni­ci­pal a­re­as.

“I­ni­ti­al meet­ings ha­ve been set up with the go­al of col­la­bo­ra­ti­ve in­put from all sec­tors of the com­mu­ni­ty. T­his must be a col­lecti­ve ef­fort from all tho­se in the Gre­a­ter Knys­na a­rea,” she said.

In­vol­ving schools

Part­ne­ring with Ed­ge of A­fri­ca, SANParks and Knys­na Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty, a schools com­pe­ti­ti­on has been laun­ched as part of the i­ni­ti­a­ti­ve.

Al­so a long-term vi­si­on, S­wain says schools ha­ve been in­vi­ted to be­gin a jour­ney to­wards be­co­ming bio-wi­se, star­ting with le­ar­ning how to work mo­re wi­se­ly with wa­ter and was­te with the slo­gan “It’s not was­te until it’s was­ted” sum­ming up the ap­pro­ach.

“We’ve had a phe­no­me­nal re­spon­se and 15 schools in the a­rea signed up for the com­pe­ti­ti­on, which clo­ses in Sep­tem­ber. The pri­ze mo­ney is R30 000 each for the win­ning high and p­ri­ma­ry s­chool. The en­try fee was ‘bott­le bricks’ – emp­ty 2-lit­re plas­tic bott­les fil­led and tig­ht­ly pac­ked with ot­her plas­tic and foil pack­a­ging li­ke sweet wrap­pers and chips pac­kets. The schools had to ma­ke an e­qui­va­lent of 10% of the to­tal le­ar­ner count to qua­li­fy, and must use the bott­le bricks to ma­ke so­mething as part of the com­pe­ti­ti­on,” S­wain ex­plains.

Vi­si­on of ‘first in A­fri­ca’

She al­so t­hanks the Na­ti­o­nal Lot­te­ry Com­mis­si­on for their fun­ding sup­port. “Wit­hout them we would not ha­ve been a­ble to launch the pro­ject. Our ul­ti­ma­te vi­si­on is to be the first bio-wi­se was­te-no­thing town in A­fri­ca, and star­ting with small steps, with the help of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and buy-in from our lo­cal go­vern­ment, I be­lie­ve we can ma­ke the big le­aps ne­ces­sa­ry to a­chie­ve that. We’re in, are you?”

Get in­vol­ved

For mo­re in­for­ma­ti­on a­bout Was­te No­thing Knys­na, or if you would li­ke to get in­vol­ved in so­me way, e­mail S­wain on sue@ bi­owi­, or join their Fa­ce­book pa­ge Was­te No­thing Knys­na for re­gu­lar up­da­tes and mo­re news. –

P­ho­to: Sup­p­lied

Bi­oWi­se exe­cu­ti­ve di­rec­tor Sue S­wain says na­tu­re is a phe­no­me­nal de­sig­ner and pro­blem sol­ver. “In our wa­ter-scar­ce en­vi­ron­ment we could le­arn a lot from a fo­rest – the­re is 55% in­fil­tra­ti­on, 40% e­va­potrans­pi­ra­ti­on and on­ly 5% ru­noff. How much of our...

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