Date: 06 October 2016
The 2016 annual Fish River Canyon clean-up campaign which took place from 19 to 24 September, recorded a record-breaking collection of waste since the establishment of the annual campaign 4 years ago. Initiated and organized by the Ministry of Environment & Tourism (MET) and supported by the Recycle Namibia Forum (RNF), this year’s campaign was the biggest so far, according to member of the Fish River Canyon Cleanup organizing committee and MET Tourism Officer, Elretha Mungunda.
Sponsored by RNF members, Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) – a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group – as main sponsor; Coca-Cola Namibia and Plastic Packaging; as well as the Namibia National Parks programme; NAMDEB Diamond Corporation; Gondwana Collection, and Namibia Wildlife Resorts, this year’s campaign attracted 52 volunteers from the MET; South Africa National Parks; the Directorate of Environmental Affairs in SA; Gondwana Collection Namibia; Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR); the Ministry of Youth and Sports; the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Job creation; //Gamaseb Conservancy; !Gawachab Conservancy and Keetmanshoop youth, and collected a total of 183.5 kg of waste.
Mungunda: “Volunteers were divided into three groups and each group was allocated a specific stretch of the Fish River Canyon to clean (10km, 20km and 60km). This exercise does not only add value to the Fish River Canyon hiking trail but also creates ownership and a sense of responsibility to the hikers and surrounding communities alike. Compared to last year’s 100 kg collected, the total waste of 183.5 kg collected this year includes 51 kg of metals, 87 kg of bottles, 5 kg of plastic and 40.5 kg of other waste including clothes, bags, shoes, etc. The 2016 clean-up campaign was the biggest of all recorded clean-up campaigns in the Fish River Canyon. The total waste removed as well as the number of participants exceeded all other campaigns. What made it the most significant, is that we involved neighboring communities this year.”
As main sponsor, NBL donated N$20,000 cash which was used for gear bags and survival packs for mostly the conservancy members who could not afford to provide the necessary food types for hiking. Furthermore, NBL donated water and refreshments to the value of N$10,300. Other sponsorships made available t-shirts, hats, water bottles, water purification tablets, cable ties, duct tape, accommodation, meals and first aid kits. Coca Cola also sponsored beverages for the volunteers, while Plastic Packaging gave 2000 refuse bags.
RNF Coordinator, Anita Witt: “Namibia’s unique landscape and beautiful, and priceless natural resources is part of our country’s treasure. RNF is very passionate about the Namibian heritage that has proven to be a strong attractor of tourists to the country. If we don’t take care of it, who will? Thus we will continue to support, and drive such initiatives with passion, because we have to make sure that future generations also get to enjoy this beautiful land of brave in all its glory.”