Helenvale area cleans up its act

Lynn Williams

HELENVALE residents are turning waste into worth in an exciting new project aimed at eradicating waste in the area.

Dressed in protective gear – pants made of rubbish bags – children walk the northern areas suburb’s streets picking up rubbish.

The Helenvale Recycling Initiative is a two-month community activation project by the Northern Areas Project Development Initiative (Napdi).

The project aims to address waste eradication, waste recycling, enterprise development and personal skills development in Helenvale.

The project emerged from Napdi’s North Star Scenarios – a community mobilisation process launched in April which provided residents with four possible futures depicting what the northern areas in Port Elizabeth could look like in 10 years.

One scenario – the Bright Star – depicted a positive future of an active community addressing their own problems as opposed to being passive citizens.

Napdi project leader Neil Campher said the initiative was an example of the kind of project that could bring about a Bright Star scenario towards a better future.

“Illegal dumping, unemployment and general apathy towards the environment and waste disposal is a major problem in Helenvale. The problem is exacerbated by a lack of community participation. A waste management system will also bring with it sustained employment,” he said.

During the launch of the project at a community clean-up day last week, residents – mostly children – collected 3000 bags of litter. The Gelvandale Spar delivery truck and the metro’s Gelvandale waste depot transported the garbage bags, which residents had left at coordinated points, to the Helenvale waste site.

The objectives of the initiative, according to Campher, is to create positive awareness of recycling and the benefits of waste management, train community members to be recyclers and waste managers, and to recruit community members to form part of a waste management cooperative.

Napdi is working with stakeholders from Helenvale to ensure the project addresses the root causes of the waste problem in the long term and meets the needs of the community.

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