BLOEMFONTEIN – In the lead up to World Cleanup Day, held annually in September to encourage a waste-free planet, Vodacom partnered with Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa, for a cleanup event in Bloemfontein Metro today.
As part of the mobile network’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact by half by 2025, employees and contractors from Vodacom’s Central Region joined other volunteers to help collect waste in Bloemfontein CBD. In support of the event, Evah Mthimunye, Managing Executive: Vodacom Central Region, and Councillor Mxolisi Siyonzana, Executive Mayor of Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, were guest speakers at the starting point of the cleanup at Loch Logan Waterfront.
“At Vodacom, we believe in playing our part in protecting the planet for future generations. The waste problem in our country, however, continues to be a barrier to fulfilling this purpose. To coincide with World Cleanup Day, we are actively being a part of the solution in working towards waste-free environment and making a meaningful difference in the communities we serve,” says Mthimunye.
It is estimated that South Africans generate 122 million tonnes of waste per year, according to Statistics South Africa. Of this waste, only 10% is recycled or recovered for other uses, while at least 90% goes to landfill sites or dumped illegally, putting increasing pressure on waste management systems of municipalities.
“Our partnership with Manguang Metropolitan Municipality and Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa demonstrates the value of private-public sector collaboration in building a better South Africa together. In a combined effort between business and government, we can drive greater awareness about pollution and sustainable activity to maintain a cleaner city,” adds Mthimunye.
“The forging of strong partnerships to support municipal service delivery and the alignment of our programmes with national key strategies, for example the National Waste Management strategy, is imperative to make a meaningful impact in dealing with the waste crises within South Africa,” says Francois Nel, Acting HOD: Waste and Fleet Management, Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality.
“As the world’s leading beverage producer, the Coca-Cola Company produces millions of cans and bottles each month. As such, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa has a responsibility to help solve the environmental problems caused by plastic pollution through the ‘World Without Waste’ campaign that seeks to collect and recycle one bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030,“ says Pinky Lebitso, Public Affairs Communications and Sustainability Manager at Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa
“In addition, we want to create awareness around waste separation at source, support community cleanups and reinforce the importance and value of recycling. Our planet matters and we believe in doing business the right way, following our values and working toward solutions that benefit us all.”
World Cleanup Day is being held on 17 September this year, bringing together millions of volunteers, governments and organisations in 191 countries to tackle the global waste problem and build a sustainable world. Despite Covid-19 limitations, more than 60 000 volunteers participated in more than 450 cleanups in South Africa last year, contributing to the 53 million kilograms of waste collected globally.
“Participating in World Cleanup Day is an example of Vodacom’s many initiatives that support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to managing our network waste responsibly and implementing sustainable practices across our operations, we want to encourage our customers to do their part. Simply by dropping off unused devices to one of our repair centres to be repaired, refurbished, resold or sent for recycling, for example, can help to minimise waste and preserve our planet for the next generation,” concludes Mthimunye.