National Marine Week sets sail in Kimberley
Northern Cape MEC for Environmental Affairs and Nature Conservation Tiny Chotelo has launched the National Marine Week campaign, in Kimberley.
National Marine Week is an awareness campaign celebrated annually during the second week of October. The objective is to create awareness of the oceans and coastal environment in order to promote sustainable use and conservation for the benefit of present and future generations. It is also aimed at educating the general public, particularly the youth, enticing their young minds to the field of marine related professions.
This year’s campaign is celebrated under the theme, ‘Our Ocean, Our Future’.
The ocean covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, connecting the world, providing some of the most important and basic economic, cultural and environmental functions, with many untapped natural resources and unrecognised ecosystem services. The Marine Week programme will address these challenges and opportunities facing coastal countries today, in particular focusing on marine pollution. The majority of litter and waste that is found in the ocean is from land-based activities.
Speaking at the launch on Wednesday, MEC Chotelo highlighted the role of coastal and inland communities in dealing with the global challenge of pollution. “In the Northern Cape, there are two major rivers, the Vaal and Orange. These rivers play a significant role in the composition of the coastal waters due to the volume of inflow. The activities that happen around the inland rivers ultimately affect the estuaries that are a continuation of these rivers, which eventually lead to the local coastal environment. Water pollution impacts (freshwater and estuaries) will take place with agricultural activities, sewage from municipalities, effluent discharges from the industries and all the developments that are taking place within the area. These impacts are unavoidable in many instances but must be managed responsibly,” said MEC Chotelo.
The Department of Environmental Affairs and Northern Cape Environmental Affairs and nature conservation officials will conduct school workshops in all five districts in the Northern Cape from 17 – 21 October 2016.
On the 19th, there will also be an exhibition awareness programme targeting schools in Kimberley. The awareness programme plans to engage school learners and the public around marine and coastal issues, posing problems and discussing solutions.
Other relevant agencies will also be on hand at the exhibition. Schools from the area will be invited to participate and learn about the importance of the ocean, the challenges faced and the opportunities available.
All South Africans are responsible for the well-being of the ocean and coastal environment, and this campaign is intended for all South Africans. Members of the public are invited to visit the department’s exhibition that showcases the wonders of the ocean and its opportunities at the Mittah Seperere Convention Centre in Kimberley on 19 October.