Port Elizabeth: 31 October 2018
The selection of and launch in Port Elizabeth this week of a continent wide initiative roping in youth into the global war against marine plastic waste has been warmly welcomed by the coastal metropolitan area’s government.
“The launch of this green programme and network is very good news for the city, ‘ said Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (NMBM) Member of the Mayoral Council for Public Health, Ms Yolisa Padi in welcoming the launch of the African Youth Waste Network at the city’s university, the Nelson Mandela University on Monday.
“As our visitors will know, Nelson Mandela Bay has potential as a major tourist destination and a nature lover’s paradise. We are becoming increasingly aware of our vast marine resources and the need to manage these responsibly, as well as of the economic and other benefits attached to an oceans economy.
“In all this, the cleanliness and attractiveness of our city and environment is vital, not only for the health and safety of our residents, but also because we are keen to build our reputation as a major tourist city and a preferred holiday destination.
The launch of the African Youth Waste Network in the region was, however, consistent with global marine and maritime related recent developments targeting the city, inclusive of the first continental African Marine Waste Conference held in the city in July 2017, followed earlier this year by the launch of the African Marine Waste Academy (AMWA) under the aegis of the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) now currently with 42 members across Africa and reportedly growing.
The initiatives, spearheaded by Port Elizabeth nongovernmental organization, the Sustainable Seas Trust and a founder member of the AMWN are financially sponsored by the Norwegian government which early in 2018 confirmed the awarding of about a R1-million to the programme over a 12 months period.
A Norwegian government delegation led by Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybø, was among prominent guests at the function on Monday.
In her brief address, Ms Padi who accompanied the city’s Mayor, Mr Mongameli Bobani, described it as Port Elizabeth’s concern “the alarming news daily of the rate of destruction of the natural environment of our planet and its oceans. Current and future governments have no option but to increasingly focus on environmental protection and find better solutions to the issue of waste management,” she said.
In response however, she said the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for its part, was “engaged in a number of cleaning and waste management initiatives to address this.”
“The going is slow but some of our initiatives are starting to show results and to be of benefit to our communities.
“The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality fully supports the launch of the African Youth Waste Network. We know the time to do something is now and it is very right and fitting that the energy, enthusiasm and innovative idea of the youth will be harnessed in the process,” said Ms Padi.
For more on the launch of the AYWN, click on the links below.