19 May 2022 Media Release: Garden Route District Air Quality Awareness Campaigns have reached more than 60 000 people so far

Media Release: Garden Route District Air Quality Awareness Campaigns have reached more than 60 000 people so far

For Immediate Release
19 May 2022

For the last seven (7) years, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has incorporated air pollution education as part of its community outreach activities. The Air Quality awareness campaign was identified in response to the poor air quality status  of informal settlements during winter seasons. Dr Johann Schoeman, District Air Quality Manager at GRDM, emphasised that the poor air quality status is amongst others sources, caused by fires used for  cooking and heating purposes. In the pictures (below) are school representatives from various schools with their study packs.

With this in mind, a three-year formal tender was advertised for the procurement of services by a training provider to facilitate training at schools within the Garden Route.  The tender was awarded to Mingcele (PTY) Ltd to develop study packs and facilitate the training at Primary Schools until 2024. Mingcele facilitates and manages several community development projects with a special focus on educational training support and environmental awareness.

Further to this, Dr Schoeman explained that the Western Cape Provincial Government Education Department was also approached to address the issue at primary school level. This effort resulted in the Clean Fires campaign now being incorporated as part of the Grade 3 curriculum.  In order to reach as many learners as possible, and being inclusive in its approach, the course material is printed in isi-Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.

The course material covers the following air pollution aspects:

  • What air pollution is;
  • The health effects thereof;
  • What causes air pollution;
  • How you can help to reduce air pollution;
  • How to make a fire;
  • How to make a “cleaner” fire for heating purposes; and
  • How to construct a stove from waste material.

Each participating school receives a study pack with study material -convenient for each teacher. The course material is in line with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and each resource pack consists of full colour posters, an educational game pack, lesson plans, worksheets in all three official languages of the Western Cape, a full colour booklet, a DVD including the lesson plans and worksheets with five plugins for an interactive whiteboard.

Dr Schoeman said: “Since its inception, the project reached most of the primary schools in the Garden Route district. The project is rotated in the region with this year again focusing on the Klein Karoo region. In total, 72 teachers and 2033 learners from 39 schools were reached, amongst others in Oudtshoorn, Uniondale, Volmoed, De Rust, Calitzdorp, Avontuur, Haarlem and Ladismith areas.  GRDM’s officials were involved in the official hand-over of study packs to some of the participating schools.

When determining the current project impact on the receptor environment, Dr Schoeman highlighted: “It is anticipated that four (4) family members per child are reached with a cumulative impact of 8132 community members covered through the project for this year alone”.

The project statistics for the last four years are as follows:

2019: 37 schools and 72 teachers.
2020: 46 schools and 63 teachers.
2021: 66 schools and 151 teachers.
2022: 39 schools, 72 teachers and 2033 learners.

Seventy-two study packs were handed over to the participating schools. For the last 4 years, the project almost reached 60 000 people in the Garden Route.

In closing, Dr Schoeman said: “Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the project is taking place by means of follow-ups through social media (WhatsApp), email communication and completed attendance registers”.  Adding to this he highlighted: “Due to the success of this project and the positive feedback received from the participating schools, the GRDM committed itself for another two years to expand its awareness outreach sessions”.

The GRDM Air Quality Unit encourages the public to contact their office at 044-693 0006 during office hours, for any further information regarding the project.  To learn more about air quality, visit our page at: http://www.gardenroute.gov.za/air-quality/

Feature Image: Bersig Primary School

ENDS