Category: <span>Municipal Health</span>

Media Release: Garden Route Air Quality remains tops

Media Release: Garden Route Air Quality remains tops

For Immediate Release
14 January 2022

“Humankind faces its greatest existential threat in the form of climate change” – President Cyril Ramaphosa, 2020 State of the Nation Address

Climate change refers to long-term changes in weather patterns and temperatures. Such shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. Climate change has been primarily driven by human activities since the 1800s, particularly through the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. Fossil fuel combustion produces greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket around the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures.

Climate change and air quality are closely related. Some of these emissions are not only of concern, but they often come from the same sources. Furthermore, air pollution and climate change interact in complex ways in the atmosphere. Increasing levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) alter the energy balance between the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface, altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere.

Examples of developments that will result in the release of GHG`s include:

  • Electricity generation facilities that utilize fossil fuels.
  • Industrial developments that contribute to atmospheric emissions.
  • The extraction and production of fossil fuels.
  • The development and related operations of feedlots.
  • Clearing of vegetation and where it is replaced by built infrastructure such as roads, airports, and urban development.
  • Waste disposal facilities.
  • Treatment of waste through burn technologies.

In October 2011, the Government of South Africa published the National Climate Change Response White Paper, which details the Government’s vision for an effective response to climate change and a just transition to a climate-resilient, lower-carbon economy and society. The Minister has promulgated the National GHG Reporting Regulations. The purpose of these Regulations is to introduce a single national reporting system for the transparent reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, which will primarily be used to: Inform policy formulation, implementation and legislation.

“The Garden Route District Municipality recognises climate change as a threat to the environment, its residents, and its future development,” says Dr Johann Schoeman, District Manager: Air Quality. Böckmann (2015) states that measures should be taken to reduce or eliminate carbon emissions or enhance greenhouse gas sinks (mitigation). However, due to lag times in the climate and biophysical systems, the positive impacts of past and current mitigation will only be noticeable in the next 25 years (Jiri, 2016). In the meantime, adaptation is seen as an inevitable and necessary response to the changes projected in the district. Garden Route District Municipality has therefore prioritised the development of a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Climate Change Response Plan.

The Air Quality status of the Garden Route

Air Quality in the Garden route is managed through its 3rd generation Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP). Our Air Quality vision is: To have air quality worthy of the name “The Garden Route”

“The GRDM is one of the front-running municipalities with regards to Air Quality management in South Africa,” said Schoeman.

Air pollution is an increasing risk, and it is estimated that more than 7 million people die worldwide because of air pollution. it is due to this risk that the GRDM for the last 6 years intensified its air pollution awareness through its GRDM Clean Fires campaign, focussing on air pollution awareness at the primary school level.

The Garden Route is a fast-developing zone with people all over South Africa migrating to the district. This will ultimately also lead to increased industrial activity and more pressure on the environment. Within the Western Cape Provincial contexts, GRDM issued 21% of the total number of Atmospheric Emission Licences within the Western Cape, with only the City of Cape town issuing more licences than the GRDM.

Garden Routers is fortunate to have three Provincial Air Quality monitoring stations, which are located strategically within the district. Their placement is based on potential hazardous sources of pollution. These stations are complemented by monitoring stations operated by the industry as well as air quality monitoring activities done by the Garden route district municipality. The George station is also reporting live to the South-African Air Quality Information System (SAQIS).

In general, the pollution measured at these stations are in compliance with the Ambient Air Quality standards of South Africa and the Garden route can still be regarded as a district with very good air quality. The public can access the data on the SAQIS- system. There is excellent cooperation between GRDM and Industry and many emissions reduction programmes and improved technology projects have been implemented to mitigate the harmful effect of air pollution.

Goals 3 and 4 of the GRDM Air Quality Management Plan focus on Climate change response (CCR). The following tasks are envisaged under this objective relating to CCR:

  • Determining the types and quantity of fuels used in households
  • Continue the Clean Fires campaign at schools
  • Refine the emissions inventory to include household emissions
  • Identify the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions within the GRDM
  • Engage with these contributors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and acknowledge those who take effective steps
  • Assist local municipalities to amend by-laws to affect emissions limits on unlicensed industries that emit greenhouse gasses.

The importance of air quality on the quality of life is often overlooked due to a lack of understanding of the impact that poor air quality has on the health and wellbeing of the community. The GRDM AQMP will continue to prioritise protecting vulnerable communities against exploitation.

Feature image: Air quality sensor

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18 November 2021 Media Release: Typhoid cases in George

Media Release: Typhoid Fever in George

For Immediate Release
18 November 2021

Isolated Typhoid hotspots have recently been identified in the Garden Route, more specifically the George municipal area.

Of paramount importance in the fight against typhoid fever, is awareness and the management of already notified cases. Therefore, the role and functions of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Municipal Health Services cannot be over emphasised. Prompt interaction with the notified cases will prevent further spread, although difficulties with correct addresses sometimes are a challenge,’ says Johan Compion, Manager for Municipal Health and Environmental Management at GRDM. He added: “During the period of August 2020 until September 2021, fourteen (14) cases including one (1) death were reported from the George region (GRDM),” Compion said.

Typhoid fever is a life-threatening infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. It is usually spread through contaminated food or water. Salmonella Typhi lives only in humans.

Typhoid is endemic in South Africa. The normal Typhoid case patient age ranges from 4 years to 27 years. Typhoid risk is higher in populations that lack access to safe water and access to adequate sanitation. Poor communities and vulnerable groups including children are at higher risk. Typhoid fever is also climate related as the germs spread easier during the summer period, making this disease Climate Change related.

A walk through survey and investigation was conducted in order to determine possible cause of the typhoid fever in the affected areas and the following were observed:

  • Illegal dumped waste
  • Pools of stagnant water
  • Animals such as pigs roaming around the area
  • Overflowing sewage
  • Man-made urinal stalls
  • Prolonged high fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation or diarrhoea

Access to safe water and adequate sanitation, hygiene among food handlers and typhoid vaccination are all-effective in preventing typhoid fever.

Recently, Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) have taken water samples to be analysed for Salmonella and Vibrio Cholera. Eight sewage water samples were taken to detect the salmonella typhi and vibrio cholera from different areas in Thembalethu and the Outeniqua Water Works in Rosedale. All those samples taken from the sewage, comply with the standard limit.

EHPs from GRDM monitor the pump stations and river water samples will be taken on a monthly basis.

The aim of this Sampling programme is to reduce the health and safety risks resulting from exposure to contaminated river water.

Compion highlighted that the GRDM Municipal Health section interacts with Local Municipalities on a regular basis to ensure the sustainability of river water and drinking water programs. Further to this he concluded: “Our GRDM EHPs are also busy with typhoid awareness in clinics and the community at large to prevent the spread on the fever in our area”.

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19 October 2021 Media Release: Garden Route DM prioritises the long-term health and well-being of citizens

Media Release: Garden Route DM prioritises the long-term health and well-being of citizens

For Immediate Release
19 October 2021

The impact various businesses have on the health and well-being of communities, are closely monitored by Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP). They conduct surveillance of premises to ensure that safe, healthy and hygienic conditions are the order of the day. EHPs, during their inspections, identify, monitor and evaluate health risks, nuisances and hazards. If the premises they’ve inspected is not up to standard, corrective actions will be taken.

GRDM Executive Manager for Community Services, Mr Clive Africa, says “the GRDM Municipal Health By-law, promulgated under the National Health Act, 2003 (61 of 2003), allows EHPs to take remedial action in instances where the conditions may create a possible risk to the health and well-being of the community”. “EHPs perform health inspections at various premises unannounced,” he said.

EHPs visit these types of sites on a routine basis:

  • Accommodation facilities
  • Barbers and hairdressers
  • Body piercing and tattoo parlours
  • Childcare facilities- tertiary and other educational institutions
  • Farms
  • Guesthouses or self-catering accommodation premises
  • Health care facilities
  • Hostels/backpackers
  • Informal settlements
  • Laundries
  • Night shelters
  • Nursing homes and retirement villages
  • Places of care
  • Premises where animals are kept
  • Public ablution facilities, beaches

When inspections are done, the following steps are required to be completed by each EHP:

  1. Inspection checklists are completed and captured for each inspection.
  2. Those in charge of premises will receive a full report on findings within 14 days following an inspection.
  3. While inspections are done, EHPs also educate and inform those in control of premises about immediate remedial actions required.
  4. The GRDM has a digital database of all premises in the region.
  5. In some instances, external stakeholders will form part of inspections (law enforcement, etc.)

A risk-based approach is followed by each EHP during inspections. Focus areas include ventilation, lighting, indoor air quality, food safety, water and sanitation practices, management of waste, pest control, disease transmission risk factors, hygiene practices and other conditions that are likely to pose a hazard or risk to human health.

For any information, contact the GRDM Municipal Health Services Unit of Garden Route District Municipality at 044 – 803 1300 or contact Johan Compion, Manager: Municipal Health and Environmental Services, on 083 803 5161.

ENDS

Caption: Garden Route District Municipality Environmental Health Practitioner inspecting food products at a grocery store in the Garden Route.

15 October 2021 Update: Avian Influenza outbreak


Update: Avian Influenza outbreak

For Immediate Release
15 October 2021

Western Cape authorities continue to respond to an outbreak of Avian Influenza amongst wild seabirds, primarily along parts of the West Coast but also in parts of the Overberg. Clean up operations will continue over the weekend.

The Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, says it remains critical to conduct thorough clean up operations and to work hard and fast to prevent the spreading of the virus to other sectors of the province.

“Teams are still collecting dead and sick birds from areas where infection has been reported. We are keeping an eye on Dyer Island where clean up teams yesterday picked up 1595 dead birds. However, the situation in Bergriver Municipality area appears to be improving. From 1500 dead birds collected on Wednesday, we only collected 100 yesterday. In addition, our partners have reported no more carcasses have been found on Robben Island yesterday but they will check again today. We are hoping this trend continues dropping today and over the weekend.”

Bredell says a disposal site has been identified and prepared for the disposal of the infected wild bird carcasses. Veterinarians also continue providing assistance. Officials are following advice provided by Veterinary Services in terms of how to manage the sick birds.

“I want to thank all our workers and partners who mobilized rapidly to help and continue to work hard to stop the spread of this virus. I also want to repeat this critical message to the public: Please do not approach or touch any sick or dead birds. If you spot a bird behaving strangely, or a dead bird, please call the closest municipal office, conservation authority or your local vet.

Contact details for state veterinarians are available at https://www.elsenburg.com/services-and-programmes/veterinary-services-0#s=Animal-Health-and-Disease-Control

ENDS

Media enquiries:
James-Brent Styan
Spokesperson for the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell

Mobile:                   084 583 1670
Telephone:            021 483 2820
E-mail:                    James-Brent.Styan@westerncape.gov.za

14 October 2021 Urgent Alert: Suspected outbreak of Avian Influenza

Urgent Alert: Suspected outbreak of Avian Influenza

For Immediate Release
14 October 2021

Western Cape authorities are responding to a suspected outbreak of Avian Influenza amongst wild seabirds in the Bergrivier Municipality on the West Coast as well as the Walker Bay area in the Overberg. All disaster nodes have been alerted and Bergrivier Municipality, both the Overberg and West Coast District Municipalities and CapeNature have already deployed teams of officials to collect the dead and sick birds. Veterinarians are on scene assisting and officials are following advice provided by Veterinary Services in terms of how to manage the sick birds.

The Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, is urging the public to avoid the area and in particular not to collect or touch sick or dead birds. “It is critical to prevent the spread of the disease. This means people must not attempt to assist or transport any sick birds, even to take them to rehabilitation centres and veterinarians as this could spread the disease. It is critical to keep a controlled environment.”

At the moment, Bergrivier Municipality remains the hotspot area with reports of dead birds from Velddrif to Arniston. Neighbouring municipalities have been alerted and urged to be cautious and to keep an eye out for potential spreading of the disease. There are additional hotspots on Dyer island and Robben Island which are receiving attention. The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre is currently doing an assessment to determine if the outbreak constitutes a disaster or not.

“This is a serious situation. We note that the deaths are occurring currently amongst endangered wild birds including cormorants. Yesterday alone an estimated 1500 dead cormorants were collected in the region.”

The current virus strain was detected in wild birds in May 2021, mainly affecting gulls. The first cormorants were only diagnosed with the disease in mid-September and cases have increased rapidly over the past week.

“This is an incurable disease affecting birds, that is not preventative, cannot be treated and is highly contagious to birds,” says Bredell.

There is also currently no evidence that this virus poses any risk or threat to humans. However, humans can transmit the virus from sick birds to other birds if their clothes or hands gets contaminated. People are advised not to handle the birds at all unless it is absolutely unavoidable and in that instance to please use gloves and face masks.

The Disaster Management Centre urges the public to be vigilant and report unusual mortalities in any birds to their local municipality, conservation authority or state veterinarian.

Contact details for state veterinarians are available at:
https://www.elsenburg.com/services-and-programmes/veterinary-services-0#s=Animal-Health-and-Disease-Control

ENDS

Media enquiries:
James-Brent Styan
Spokesperson: Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs & Development Planning, Anton Bredell
Mobile:  084 583 1670
Telephone:  021 483 2820
E-mail:  James-Brent.Styan@westerncape.gov.za

27 September 2021 News Release: Garden Route District Municipality’s Environmental Health Practitioners fulfill significant role in Water Quality Monitoring

News Release: Garden Route District Municipality’s Environmental Health Practitioners fulfill significant role in Water Quality Monitoring


For Immediate Release
27 September 2021

Water is a national resource, fundamental to life, as well as growth and development. It, therefore, stands to reason that the quality of our drinking water and water resources is highly dependent on the overall management of the water cycle.  

According to Johan Compion, Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Manager for Municipal Health and Environmental Management, GRDM is mandated by various legislation to monitor the quality of our drinking- and wastewater. He said: “The applicable legislation is enforced by Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) and is stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996, the Water Services Act, no 108 of 1997, the National Water Act no. 36 of 1998 and the National Health Act no. 61 of 2003”. To this he added: “Therefore all these health powers are vested in district municipalities, which includes water quality monitoring and environmental pollution control”.

 

GRDM has eight regions with offices to ensure that water quality in all regions is monitored at intervals required by the legislation mentioned above. The offices are situated in the following areas of the Garden Route district, including Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, George Head office with two sub-regions, Mossel Bay, Riversdale and Oudtshoorn, with a sub-office in Ladismith.

 

Typical water types that are monitored, sampled and analysed include, but are not limited to: drinking water, surface water (rivers and dams), treated sewage effluent, recreational waters (seawater and public swimming pools) and industrial effluent. Compliance rates for potable water are above ninety (90) per cent, and where samples do not comply with legislation (norms and standards), the reasons are investigated and corrective measures implemented. Waste water plants are also inspected, and sampling is done to ensure that the final effluents are safe to discard in the environment as per permit requirements.

 

Compion further highlighted and said: “Close cooperation with local municipalities, the Department of Water Affairs, the Department of Environmental Affairs, other government departments and private entities, as well as role-players, exist, to ensure that short-, medium- and long-term goals are met.

 

In conclusion he emphasised: “Notwithstanding all the above-mentioned facts, residents in the Southern Cape, are the main shareholders to ensure a healthy and safe environment and are encouraged to use water sparingly, to report any form of pollution and refrain from discarding any chemicals or foreign matter in sewage systems and water bodies”.

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7 July 2021 Public Awareness: The roles and responsibilities of Environmental Health Practitioners in Vector Control

Public Awareness: The roles and responsibilities of Environmental Health Practitioners in Vector Control

07 July 2021
For immediate release

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), in terms of the powers vested in Section 156 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No. 108 of 1996 read with Section 13(a) of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act, 2000, stipulates that the Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP) within the is responsible for the health and hygiene surveillance of food premises. In terms of the Scope of Practice for EHPs, one (1) of the nine functions of Municipal Health Services is Vector Control.

What are vectors, the control thereof and its impact on public health?

According to research, vector-borne diseases account for approximately 17% of the estimated global burden of infectious diseases. Vectors are insects or animals that spread an infectious disease through a bite, or contact with their urine, faeces, blood, etc. Vectors include mosquitoes, flies, ticks, rodents, cockroaches and fleas. Diseases spread by vectors include malaria, dengue fever, Zika, chikungunya, yellow fever, Rift Valley fever and plague.

The role of Environmental Health Practitioners in vector controlling is to understand the vector and how it transmits infectious pathogens. The team also has to monitor the possible existence of environmental factors that can create a conducive environment for the breeding of vectors; and lastly, they also have to conduct case investigations of vector-borne diseases, as well as public health education on preventative measures.

The National Health Act of 2003, National Environmental Norms and Standards and the Garden Route District Municipal By-Laws of 10 December 2018, obligates food premises to comply with the following requirements for pest control purposes:

  1. Effective measures to prevent and control infestation from pests.
  2. Pest control programmes which sets out procedures necessary to prevent and control pests within the premises. This includes identification of pests, the level of infestation and measures implemented to prevent and control pest infestation in the internal and exterior perimeters of the food premises.
  3. The pest control program should include procedures on the correct storage of food, management of waste and housekeeping to ensure proper management of conditions that may promote pest infestation.
  4. Suitably trained and competent personnel for the implementation and maintenance of documented pest control programs.

What are the hygiene requirements at various settings?

Waste management

  1. Waste generated on the food premises should be properly removed and stored at all times.
  2. Remove waste regularly to eliminate potential food sources and harbourage for pests and keep the area where waste is stored clean.
  3. Containers for the discarding or storage of waste should be fitted with tight-fitting lids, rodent-proof and constructed of material that may not be penetrated by rodents.
  4. Waste storage containers to cleaned and disinfected regularly to avoid attracting pests. Storage containers kept closed at all times.

Housekeeping

  1. Good housekeeping practices to ensure premises are free of conditions that may attract pests.
  2. A cleaning program to promote the immediate cleaning of minor spills and filth, for example, clean-as-you-go-principle.

Water and Food

  1. Avoid stagnating water in and around the premises. This can be possible breeding for mosquitoes and attraction for rodents and other pests.

Bait stations

  1. Locked, labelled, tamper-resistant bait station.
  2. Securely placed to ensure no removal and maintained in good condition.
  3. Regular inspections on the bait stations to check for any activity/ presence of rodents.

Rodent Proofing

  1. The food premises must be rodent-proof and must be in accordance with the SANS Code 080 of 1972.

Challenges relating Vector Control

  1. An increasing amount of food premises are found not to be compliant with their pest control programmes.
  2. Food premises managers or owners cannot provide the EHP with receipts for pest control servicing on request.
  3. Food premises managers or owners are not reporting immediately or not at all when they have pest infestations. These include spaza shops.

The effective execution of a pest control program must be regularly monitored. Therefore, Environmental Health Practitioners appeal to the public to report any nuisances caused by vectors to the Municipal Health Services Section of GRDM.  An Environmental Health Practitioner will attend swiftly to all the complaints brought to their attention.

For more information relating to Vector Control, contact the GRDM Municipal Health Services Section at 044-803 1300/1525.

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2 July 2021 Media Release: GRDM Home Composting Project participants commence with capturing of organic material

Media Release: GRDM Home Composting Project participants commence with capturing of organic material

For immediate release
02 July 2021

Yesterday, 01 July 2021, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) staff that participate in the Home Composting Pilot Project, commenced with the capturing of their organic waste data. These thirteen (13) participants from various Sections within the organisation received their worm farms and composting bins from the GRDM Waste Management Unit on 11 June 2021 at the Municipality’s head-office in George.

Participant, Monnique Anthony, said: “I support the idea of reducing waste at our landfill site. I am excited to see the results but the process requires time and patience which will be quite exciting, yet challenging at the same time”.

Thirteen (13) staff members from various Sections within the organisation forms part of the project. Before taking the items in acceptance, the participants attended an information workshop that was presented by Johan Gie, the GRDM District Waste Management Officer. The following topics were discussed during the session: the profile of domestic waste in the Garden Route; the benefits of home composting; types of composting such as cold, warm and vermi-composting; what to compost and what not to compost etc.

The project has already been implemented in all seven (7) local municipal areas of the Garden Route.

The information workshop was presented by Johan Gie, District Waste Management Officer at Garden Route District Municipality.

According to Gie, from January 2018 – December 2020, a total of sixty (60) tons of recyclable materials was weighed, recorded and diverted from landfill by means of the GRDM Office Recycling Programme”. He added: “This initiative aims to divert waste even further by extending the programme to include organic waste composting generated in the offices, e.g. tea bags, coffee grounds, banana peels, apple cores, etc.”. With these projects, internally and in the various communities, the municipality aims to reach the targets set by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP) to divert 50% of organic waste from landfill within the entire district by 2022. Gie further emphasised that the targets set by DEA&DP include a  total ban on organic waste to landfill by 2027. “Therefore, as a district municipality, we are striving towards reaching these targets for the Garden Route,” he highlighted.

In ensuring that the participants are fully equipped to start with the capturing of information, they each received an electronic scale, datasheets, and a composting guideline. These resources will enable each participant to accurately record essential information relating to their recycling activities. All information will then be reported to the GRDM Waste Management Unit on a monthly basis for a one year period.

The data collected from the Home Composting Pilot Projects will be used to demonstrate the feasibility and motivate the various local municipalities within the district to further roll out home composting programmes within their respective municipalities.

Did you know?

The benefits of compost include:

  • With Compost, you are creating rich humus for your garden. This adds nutrients to your plants and helps retain moisture in the soil;
  • Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage bin;
  • Diverting organic waste from landfill – extend lifespan of landfills and reduce transport & management costs;
  • Microscopic organisms help aerate the soil, break down organic material for plant use and ward off plant diseases;
  • Composting offers a natural or “green” alternative to chemical fertilizers (emissions transport & machinery, packaging) – it is good for the environment;
  • No need to purchase compost or fertilizers.

What waste to compost?

  • Kitchen waste
  • Fruit & vegetable scraps
  • Eggshells (crushed)*
  • Green leaves
  • Grass clippings
  • Garden plants
  • Lawn & Garden weeds*
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea leaves / bags
  • Manure*
  • Shrub prunings
  • Wood ash
  • Dry leaves
  • Cardboard
  • Newspaper & shredded paper*
  • Sawdust & wood chips*

What not to compost

  • Anything containing meat, oil, fat or grease
  • Diseased plant material
  • Sawdust or woodchips from treated wood*
  • Dog or cat faeces
  • Weeds that have seeds*
  • Dairy products
  • Coal ash
  • Cooked foods
  • Nappies and used tissues
  • Glossy or coloured paper*

For more information regarding recycling or home composting, contact the GRDM Waste Management Unit at 044 693 0006 or via e-mail at: johang@gardenroute.gov.za.

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18 June 2021 Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners continue to sensitise Garden Routers of a rise in COVID-19 infections

Media Release: Environmental Health Practitioners continue to sensitise Garden Routers of a rise in COVID-19 infections

For immediate release
18 June 2021

With the sharp spike in Covid-19 positive cases over the past few weeks, Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) play a pivotal role in ensuring that infection rates decrease. To address the issue, the various EHPs of GRDM implemented strict measures to ensure that the health of the residents in the area is protected.

Environmental Health Practitioners together with Officers from the South African Police Service during an operation in the Knysna and surrounding areas.

According to recent reports received from the Executive Manager for Community Services at GRDM, Clive Africa, the district’s respective Municipal Health sections implemented various measures in their attempt to stabilise the Covid-19 cases. Among these measures are the continuous discussions with local municipalities and other stakeholders to intensify activities in the district. Key performance areas relevant to the pandemic were therefore the focal point. The focus now is primarily on house visits, contact tracing of newly reported cases, health and hygiene awareness interventions at identified premises, and health surveillance of premises and collaborative blitzes at spaza shops.

During the last few weeks, more awareness sessions were conducted in residential areas of the district in collaboration with health care workers and officials from the Provincial Hospitals. It was established that some of the churches were not Covid-19 compliant, more specifically in the Mossel Bay area – where no social distancing, no wearing of masks and too many people were allowed to attend services at the same time, were found. An investigation and awareness campaigns followed, after which the following were implemented.

  • awareness sessions with all church denominations in the area;
  • awareness sessions at restaurants to make use of outdoor tables as much as possible;
  • media campaign (print and electronic), with the help from the local municipality; and
  • compliance inspections with the support from the South African Police Service.

EHPs at GRDM furthermore continue to organise joint operations with the South African Police Service for their visits to spaza shops and taverns, as well as Tshisanyamas. These are conducted after-hours and are part of their ongoing interventions to curb the rise of infections in the district. Furthermore, continuous compliance visits to funeral parlours are also taking place.

More Covid-19 measures in place after the President’s announcement on 15 June 2021, include:

  • Curfew from 22:00 to 4:00 – bars and restaurants need to close by 21:00;
  • Alcohols sales from Monday to Thursday from 10:00 to 18:00;
  • Funerals restricted to 50 persons per service with a maximum of 2 hours per funeral, with no after-funeral activities;
  • All gatherings restricted to 50 persons (indoor) and 100 persons (outdoor); and
  • The wearing of masks is mandatory – any person without a face cover in a public space will be committing an offence.

Report non-compliance by businesses or related incidents to the GRDM Disaster Management Centre 24/7 at telephone number 044-805 5071.

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10 June 2021 Media Release: Garden Route Clean Fires Campaign reach expands year-on-year

Media Release: Garden Route Clean Fires Campaign reach expands year-on-year

10 June 2021
For Immediate Release

For the last seven (7) years, Garden Route District Municipality has incorporated air pollution as part of its community awareness-raising activities. The project was identified due to poor air quality, especially in informal settlements. This pollution is often caused by fires used for household purposes, such as cooking and heating.

The peer education project was first launched in the Klein Karoo in 2014 and was later rolled out in the rest of the Garden Route. The project advanced over the last three years, where the focus was shifted to primary school learners. More communities are being reached when primary school learners are educated.

Dr Johann Schoeman, Manager: District Air Quality Control at GRDM, said, “The municipality awarded a three-year tender to Mingcele Africa NPC.  Mingcele facilitates and manages community development projects with a special focus on educational training support and environmental awareness”. Adding to this, he said: “The Western Cape Education Department was approached whereby the Clean Fires campaign is now incorporated as part of the Grade 3 curriculum”.

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 the course material that is very convenient to the teacher. The course material is in line with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), are printed in English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans, and each resource pack consists of:

  • Six printed posters;
  • A game pack to learn about pollution and the environment;
  • Five lesson plans; and
  • Five worksheets in English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans.

(Lesson plans and worksheets are all bound in a full-colour booklet DVD with five plug-ins for an interactive whiteboard).

This year alone, 66 schools in the Garden Route participated in the programme – that is, 115 teachers and 4400 children. It is anticipated that four family members are reached per child with a cumulative impact of 17 600 community members reached through this project for this year alone.

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

  • 2019: 37 schools and 72 Teachers;
  • 2020: 46 schools and 63 Teachers; and
  • 2021:  66 schools and 151 Teachers.

For the last three years, the project almost reached 50 000 people in the Garden Route district.

Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the project occur through follow-ups and communication through two-way social media channels and attendance registers.

Due to the success of this project and the positive feedback received from the participating schools, the GRDM committed itself for another three years and a new tender was subsequently advertised for the continuation of the project.

As at Wednesday, 9 June 2021, the sixty-six (66) schools in the district have already received their study packs.

For any further information on the project, please contact Dr Johann Schoeman or Mr Angus Andries at: jschoeman@gardenroute.co.za or 044 693 0006.

Feature image: Study packs ready for distribution to schools in the Garden Route district.

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