Makana Enviro News


Not all bad news

It is often tempting to only report bad news. Broadcasters like Sky News specialise in this with their endless reports covering ‘studies’ that have been carried out on obscure and negative ‘issues’. The conclusion is almost always that something ‘needs to be banned’ following publication of these depressing results: evidence of a state of paranoia, if ever there was one. So let’s take a light-hearted look at the state of the environment in and around Grahamstown, and see if we have a better sense of humour than the Brits.

Rain, or lack of it

Have you noticed how green Grahamstown is looking? A step outside your air-conditioned office will reveal all the trees in full Spring new leaf. A splendid sight. Evidently the trees feel that things are Ok and indeed the Cape Chestnut tree at the head of High Street is flowering, when all those in the bush are not. You didn’t notice that? Ok, you were either speeding or on your cell phone, that is understandable.

One of the benefits of a dry Spring season is the lack of weeds. Retail sales of weed killers are at an all-time low, so we face a town devoid of these noxious toxins, and that is a good thing. Another benefit of the relatively dry months is that the potholes are not full of water, which makes spotting what is left of the road much easier. Moreover, those students who swam and picnicked in the huge holes in Allen Street have had to go elsewhere for recreation. The lack of distracting bikinis in the centre of the road has no doubt saved several lives.

Road conditions

Grahamstown’s nasty, sharp and serious potholes have largely disappeared. Whereas these formerly vertical-sided spring-breakers were a near constant source of traffic trauma, that is in the past, which is a good thing. Today, our potholes have become wide and welcoming. Small student bubble cars particularly, can now safely drive down into them, across the bottom and up the other side without fear or damage, such are their massive dimensions. One concern however is to find the inevitable grey-beard professor on his statement bicycle engrossed in the bottom, studying the now exposed bedrock.

Moreover, with the lack of rain, these craters no longer contain that evil substance, mud. With this lack of mud, and despite the ban on washing cars, Grahamstown’s vehicles have never looked cleaner. It is a scientifically proven fact that washing cars and watering the garden causes rain. So that has indeed now been proven, and that is also a good thing!

Very few motorists have reported broken windscreens recently. This is despite the near gravel road appearance of most of our streets as, shy of being bombarded with gravel and dust, most drivers now keep a respectful distance from the car ahead. Accidents are thus also at an all-time low. Another good thing.

Urban cows

Grahamstown’s efforts to look like India have failed. A very active Bull was seen in the early hours of the morning together with other worthy citizens rounding up the national herd that were keeping the verges – and many gardens – heavily pruned. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on whether you were illegally watering your garden or not, and had the only green grass around.

If your car collides with a cow, now you are assured that if the animal is wearing an ear tag, you can legally have the accident, which is a good thing. So, just make sure it is a cow, not an ear- or nose-tagged student, before having the accident. The minor cost of paying the fines was much appreciated by urban farmers who conceded that such free grazing could not last for ever.

Finally, let us enjoy Spring time. It is a time of renewal, and we can enjoy knowing that the wretched British will soon be cold and wet. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why they have gone so quiet on old Trumpy, because they know that his global warming will soon bring them pleasant tropical conditions. Now would that be a good or a bad thing?

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Contacts for Makana Enviro-News:

Nikki Köhly:, 046 603 7205 | Tim Bull:, 076 289 5122 | Jenny Gon:, 046 622 5822 | Nick James:, 082 575 9781 | Philip Machanick:, 046 603 8635.

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