Bay residents join global climate march

Bay residents and environmental activists gather at the Port Elizabeth City Hall to join the sixth Global Climate Strike, which was held around the world on Friday
CLIMATE CONCERNS: Bay residents and environmental activists gather at the Port Elizabeth City Hall to join the sixth Global Climate Strike, which was held around the world on Friday
Image: ZIPO-ZENKOSI NCOKAZI

Nelson Mandela Bay residents joined thousands of environmental activists worldwide as they protested to highlight the issue of climate change, with the city’s water crisis thrust into the spotlight by locals on Friday.

Dozens of activists ranging from schoolchildren to concerned community members joined members of the Extinction Rebellion — organisers of the protest — as they marched to the Port Elizabeth City Hall clad in red T-shirts and armed with posters, some of which read “Day Zero -But-Zero Service” and “What Happens When The Taps Run Dry”.

The protesters marched in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike, a youth movement sparked by Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg’s solo protest in August 2018.

Nicole Collier-Naidoo of Extinction Rebellion said as different marches took place around SA and the world, the burning issue for the Bay was its water crisis.

“In the Western Cape there are five different marches taking place, in Gauteng there are three, all in different areas, but we are all coming together to talk about climate change,” she said.

“And for us [Bay residents] water is the main issue and it is connected to the climate crisis, because the air is dry and there are no rains.

“People who already live in areas without access to water are going to struggle even more.”

A member of another activist group, Cry of the Xcluded, Siyabulela Mama, said the water crisis and prolonged drought was being worsened by the lack of service delivery and poor maintenance of the city’s infrastructure.    

Mama said they were using the day of action to point out it was unfair for citizens to be blamed for the dire water situation when some did not even have access to sanitation for basic needs.

“The majority of people are not filling swimming pools and watering large ornamental gardens.

“Citizens cannot be blamed when leaks continue across the metro, “ Mama said.

He said in black communities many people shared communal taps.

“Without access to clean water and sanitation we are robbed of our dignity.

“Without access to water we cannot build food security and improve nutrition by growing vegetables, herbs and fruit in our backyards and communities.”

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