On the 1st of June I conducted my first clean-up campaign at the Eben Cuyler sports grounds in Soweto. Everything from the preparing of the campaign to conducting it was an incredible learning experience for me. The reasons why I chose the that specific area was because it one of the areas in Diepkloof that suffers server rates of illegal dumping which has horrible impacts on the environment and health of the people of the community.
Mum Maybelle from Pikitup explained to me that overpopulation within households is the biggest contributor to illegal dumping. People rent out rooms within their back yards without proper disposal and sanitation systems in place. This causes people do dump all kinds of waste in open areas such as the Eben Cuyler sports grounds.
Pikitup provided the refuse bags, latex gloves, rakes and machines. The Department of Environmental Health and the JMPD assisted with the campaign. The gentlemen from the JMPD made sure the area was secure as we cleaned up, and the team from Environmental Health assisted me in handing out educational information to the community members. After the clean-up we went door to door giving out information and explaining the impacts, and health effects of illegal dumping. Some passerby s came forth and assisted with the clean-up, although others attempted to dump while we where cleaning. It was shocking and entertaining at the same time, Pikitup works hard people! These are the things the deal with on a daily basis considered as “normal”
I learned so much valuable information during this event, but what I learned most is that unless a mindset of a people is transformed, behaviors will be repeated and perpetuated into newer generations. That also explained why all the schools I worked with complained about litter, it all comes from home. A community also needs to set common goals and work together in achieving them. So once again education is key, when people know better they do better.