Linking Communities to the Environment
in South Africa

By Amber Marsh and Renée Perrault, TG Youth Journalists

What would you do if you were surrounded by garbage and trying to implement a recycling program? You've accessed recycling bins, labelled them, and put up signs, but the majority of your community walked right by. They were unaware of what these signs said because they couldn't read. This is a common problem facing some communities in South Africa.

The Delta Environmental Centre in Johannesburg has brought forth many innovative programs to educate communities about the environment and its related issues. Projects include turning open spaces into recreational parks, ecotourism, water testing projects, tree planting, recycling, food gardening, and much more.

They've implemented a recycling program with bins located at various sites. But they've labeled them with symbols and pictures. These bins are made available by recycling companies who weigh the bulk of the contents and in return pay the community for it's cash value.

Benny Makgoga, member of the DEC, said, "We must continue in the direction we've started with active community participation and involvement. Working to stabilize and improve the progress in education and environment that we've made."