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August 2018

World Environment Day 2018: Beat Plastic Pollution
A global environmental matter of serious concern

In this edition we would like to highlight the theme of World Environment Day 2018: Beat Plastic Pollution. Plastic pollution has become a global environmental matter with serious concern and we need to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health.

While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences. Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. Every year we use up to 5 trillion disposable plastic bags. In total, 50 per cent of the plastic we use is single use.

Nearly one third of the plastic packaging we use does not end up in a landfill but in the streets, washing into our rivers and eventually reaching the sea. The plastic that ends up in the oceans can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates. The unfortunate part is that the disintegrated parts gets assimilated by birds and marine life as part of their food. In this manner it enters the food chain and eventually our bodies. Scientists still aren’t sure, but plastics contain a number of chemicals, many of which are toxic or disrupt hormones.

We need to rethink our use of plastic, especially the fact that we use it once and then throw it away. A number of things can be done. Here is but one example:

  • Resist the use of disposable cutlery or glasses
  • Use a reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water where you know water is safe to use
Examples of beating plastic

Bird Week 2018
African Black Oystercatcher

In 2006 BirdLife South Africa National launched Bird Week as a national bird awareness and conservation initiative in South Africa. Since then a special bird was celebrated annually as Bird of the Year, focusing on its habitats and conservation needs. The Bird of the year for 2018 was the African Black Oystercatcher. National Bird Week is a chance to raise awareness and encourage participation in birdwatching as one of the world's fastest growing hobbies. In support of this annual event, we invited Etienne Marais to share with the youth clubs how he followed a career as a bird guide. His talk inspired us with his enthusiasm and extensive knowledge about birds. This was followed by a practical exercise in our garden . For some this was the first experience to look through binoculars and experiencing the thrill of identifying a bird.

To learn more about the Black Oystercatcher click on this link.

Bird Week 2018

Environmental Quiz
Test your knowledge

On 14 April this year our Youth Club visited Pretoria Zoological Gardens in preparation of our Annual Environmental Quiz. Here they were introduced to various enclosures in the Zoo. On 26 May and in celebration of Biodiversity week, twelve (12) teams of four learners each competed in the Quiz at the Centre. Quiz questions covered a range of environmental items such as pollution, climate change, vegetation types, endangered species, and indigenous and invasive plants species. Phateng Secondary School walked away with the first prize and were awarded with books donated by Briza Publications, publishers and supplier of books centered around South African nature, plant and animal species, field guides, farming, and gardening.

Test your knowledge: What is the powerful horizontal tail fin of a whale called?
Answer is at the bottom of the page.

Environmental Quiz

Beat plastic pollution
Holiday programme

Every year during the July school holidays, we invite the Youth Clubs to weeklong programme filled with fun activities, dedicated to an environmental theme. This year’s programme was themed as ‘Beat Plastic Pollution.’ Learners were introduced to this huge global environmental problem and had to come up with some solutions by creating their own plays supported by art works to bring the message across.

Beat Plastic Pollution

Mandela Day 2018
Food Garden at Living Waters Early Childhood Development Centre

This year we were privileged to partner with Assupol Life to create a food garden at the Living Waters Early Childhood Development Centre in Nellmapius, Mamelodi. On Mandela Day, 18 July. 38 employee volunteers visited our Centre for an orientation of our facility before they departed to Living Waters ECD to commence with their 67 minutes’ activities where they transformed a demarcated area into a sustainable food garden. The volunteers completed the garden infrastructure including edging of beds with old tyres, planting vetiver grass hedging, some fruit trees, as well as a small herb garden on the day. In September this year during Arbor Month we’ll plant an assortment of veggies such as beetroot, carrots and spinach to supplement the nutritional diversity of the ECD Centre.

Mandela Day 2018

Answer: Fluke

WSEC Programmes
Our aim is to be a leading environmental education and resource centre that demonstrates models of best practice within the community and creates champions for a sustainable future.