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Posted: 14 May 2024

The Sundays River Valley Municipality (SRVM) has been announced as the Eastern Cape's Greenest Municipality for the year 2023/24 and has been awarded R500 000 cash prize.

This citrus-rich municipality was announced as the Greenest Municipality in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality last year and was awarded R50 000 and a spot in the provincial competition.

SRVM services three towns namely Nqweba (formerly Kirkwood), Paterson and Addo which is the home of the magical Addo Elephant National Park which is the home of the Big 5.

The greenest municipality competition comes about through a call from the district municipality and the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) for the Provincial competition.

Municipalities participate by completing an entry form and providing a portfolio of evidence looking at several aspects that constitute the environmental management ecosystem. These include overall strategy, environmental sustainability, tree planting, awareness and maintenance, policies in place, public facilities, open space management, recycling, awareness, energy efficiency measures, water quality management and other elements which the department deems important.

According to (DEDEAT), the Greenest Municipality Awards are held annually to recognize attempts and efforts performed by municipalities to build capacity, raise awareness, and sustain best practices around waste management and environmental management at large and eliminate the risks caused by pollution to human health and the environment.

Speaking after receiving the news, SRVM Mayor Cllr. Solethu Lucas said he was very excited about the award because it will assist in funding the municipality's greening, cleaning, and environmental conservation initiatives.

"We will use this funding to expand our efforts, introduce more initiatives and support existing cleaning and recycling initiatives and also intensify our awareness campaigns and beautification efforts," he said.

"As we celebrate 30 years of democracy in 2024, we are dedicating the funds to a programme, 30 Green Deeds for 30 Years of Democracy which encapsulates several activities directed towards better awareness, greening, tree planting, maintenance, and eradication of alien species, he added.

The municipality has partnered with the relevant government departments, civil society, private business, schools, and farming community, to coordinate programmes to equip residents with information around recycling, educate them about the importance of greening and environmental conservation, tree planting, beautification of spaces, and rehabilitation of illegal waste disposal sites.

"As Sundays River Valley we are proud of the partnerships we have. We have seen our businesses supporting our initiatives with personnel and other resources towards the shared vision of a greener and cleaner Valley," he continued.

"We appreciate all the support we have received from our stakeholders and residents who have joined hands with us to play their part in our #keepsrvmcleanAndgreen Campaign," he added.
SRVM came 2nd in the local municipality category at the 2022 National Arbor City Awards and brought home a cash prize of R300 000.

Speaking on future and goals, SRVM's Municipal Manager Mr Thabiso Klaas said the municipality will focus on strengthening the recycling business component, capacitating waste collectors, linking them with markets and treating the work they do like any other business, creating opportunities and promoting the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle system.

"We are looking at getting every community member buying into energy efficiency methods at a household level," he said.

"We believe in monitoring and evaluation, to measure the extent of effectiveness of our Council adopted Clean SRV Strategy from which all the activities we do flow," he added.

He further explained that the goal for the municipality is to see a 100% implemented strategy and take lessons into the new strategy, and to see everyone, from parents to kids adopting a green lifestyle.

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