A bath in times of dodgy water

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Testing Tap Water
In the absence of any water quality results from Makana Municipality, ‘citizen scientists’ are once again testing tap water at home. The ‘H2S strip test’ is a low-cost and effective ‘early warning’ system. If the water sample turns black, it tells us there are microbes in water. If this happens, researchers in the Environmental Health and Biotechnology Research Group in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Rhodes University will once again do more detailed – and costly – lab tests to check how many faecal coliforms are in the water. Look out for the results in Grocott’s Mail: www.grocotts.co.za/category/news/health-well-being

Dodgy water? Desperate to Wash?
Remember you can use that brilliant Drought-Buster Bottle Shower designed by Dr Richard Grant. You only need 5 litres of rainwater – or spring water – in a bottle. And if you stand in a basin, you can use the water to flush the loo. To refresh your memory (and body!), grab the details at www.grocotts.co.za/2018/01/25/makana-enviro-news-6

Nice Neighbours in Sunnyside!
Sunnyside neighbours are making an effort to work together. Cleaning up messy streets, as well as keeping one another informed about things that affect their health, safety and well-being, and sharing ideas about how to fix problems. Mostly they chat via their “Sunnyside Care” WhatsApp group, and occasionally meet to discuss specific concerns. Earlier this month, the neighbours met to chat about problems with rubbish on collection day. Dogs and donkeys often tear open bags and strew garbage all over the place – unsightly and unhealthy.

Wanted: Old Wood
The ‘Sunny Bunch’ want to try using WASTE CRADLES, similar to those in Port Alfred and Kenton-on-Sea. They are getting quotes to make low-cost wooden racks – with no sharp bits to tear bags, and painted with creosote. The cradles can be placed at points where waste bags are ‘pooled’ for collection – taking care to avoid creating traffic safety issues. The idea is to hold the rubbish bags out of the reach of stray animals. To keep costs down, the neighbourhood group is looking for discarded/second-hand wooden planks and fence droppers. If you can help, please contact 078 268 3533.

Separating Waste

The ‘Sunny Bunch’ are also trying to get everyone involved in RECYCLING (in CLEAR bags), and REDUCING disposable waste (in BLACK bags). This makes it much easier for the folk who make a living from sorting and selling recyclable waste.

PAPER/CARD: Can only be recycled if it is clean and dry.

PLASTIC (hard and soft): Starting in 2019 a new plastic recycling company in East London will start collecting all over the Eastern Cape. Plastic should be clean and dry (not covered with food, blood, sauce or juice).

TINS/METAL: Please clean out food and wet stuff.

GLASS: Please put separately, in a box.

WHO RECYCLES: You can find a list of local recyclers at www.ru.ac.za/environment/resources/waste/recycle

GARDEN WASTE: Complete Compost will accept cut grass, leaves and twigs. No big items, and NO household waste!

FOOD WASTE: A worm farm is cheap and easy to keep, even indoors! More info at www.ru.ac.za/environment/resources/wormfarming

Tidy Town – Not Impossible
Remember the Broken Window Theory? It’s the same with litter… if you keep your pavements clean and mowed, it means there will be less dumping and littering. Yes, we must bear in mind that people tend to behave like the (littering/non-littering) adults that they grew up with. But good neighbours can help change the Messy Mindset … regular reminders, friendly humour, and setting a good example all help create positive change! If each and every homeowner makes an effort, we can make this a tidy town again.

Good Environmental Governance
Our beleaguered little town is gasping for good environmental governance. According to the United Nations Development Programme, good governance requires the government structure – such as a local municipality – to be run according to the rule of law. It should be accountable, responsive, transparent, efficient, equitable, and encourage civic participation.

A sign of weak environmental governance is the absence of a plausible environmental policy, confusion in mandates and responsibilities, and lack of enforcement or regulation. This results in ongoing environmental degradation – which goes hand-in-hand with an increasingly unhealthy living environment.

Sound familiar? The poor people of Makana only dream of social and environmental justice, and sustainable development. Nothing will change unless everyone starts voting for a different kind of green.

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