Over the past three years, Van Reenen Tourism has initiated action to implement responsible tourism development. The project has aimed to implement holistic tourism development in stimulating perceptions, business development and marketing. One of our objectives is to implement a sustainable litter campaign. Lets be frank – there is no use in writing idyllic mouthfuls about our area, if the undulating valleys and eloping grass plains are dotted with beer bottles and chips packets. How about the unpretentious historic infrastructure that has a used nappy hanging over the fence? Society has taken steps towards thinking about sustainable development, but very few of us have managed to apply the consciousness in practice. For tourism development this form of living is detrimental. In order to develop a desired tourism destination, the destination must be litter free and each community member must take action to create and maintain a beautiful destination.
N3 Toll Concession has awarded funding to assist our community to implement a campaign. Our plan of action (A Swop Shop) is one borrowed from the White Sharks Project in Gansbaai, which has proved success in various communities. The idea is to first “open the eyes” of the local school children with a motivational talk. Thereafter, the children will be given a chance collect all the plastic and rubbish lying around and we then sort glass, plastic and metal etc into different bags. On Thursdays the children can then bring all the stuff they collected during the week. A bag full of correctly sorted litter will earn each child about 20 points and with these points they get a ticket with which they can go into the Swop Shop. Here they can exchange the ticket for basic stationery needs or other requirements such as warm socks or a bar of soap. There will be no sweets or toys, the swop shop will only stock items that can enhance a child’s development.
The aim of the project is to teach the children to keep the environment clean and at the same time they reap benefits. However, we will also teach them that if you want something you have to work hard for it and NOTHING is for free. The project is called “Cosha” (which means “pick-up” in IsiZulu) litter campaign and the slogan is “pick-up our world”. The project will take place weekly and will eventually become self-sustainable as money can be earned for recycled litter. The proceedings will be re-invested into the project. At a later stage we hope to encourage the children to start making things out of litter; which can be sold as arts and craft.
The campaign relies largely on donations and assistance from the larger community; we would greatly appreciate it if the community could donate any stationery, toiletries, clothes and blankets in order for the shop to have trading stock. We will also have donation boxes at the Caltex Garage in Van Reenen and the N3TC office at the Bergview complex in Harrismith. It will assist this program hugely if each person who reads this article could make a small donation. We all have a responsibility towards our world and we can uplift our lives as well as the lives of future generations if each person takes a step to “pick-up the world”.
For more information email: Elsa Human at firstname.lastname@example.org