Monday, February 13, 2012

The Shocking Decline of SA’s Environment

Picture Credit: Snowy Smith –

One of the many things on my “To Do List” for this blog, before I depart this place for good, is to spend some time driving around the suburbs of my hometown, Pretoria, and recording my observations on camera.

Although I do have a YouTube channel currently underway, I haven’t publicly promoted it yet. I was hoping to do so only after I had uploaded a few more videos, with material that is relevant to this blog. As the saying goes: I’ll get around to it sometime, but don’t ask me when!

In the meantime viewers are welcome to visit the channel and view the few videos that are currently available. A video I uploaded about a week ago, is a short (46 sec) clip depicting a street scene in Elarduspark, which also shows a rather nasty pothole I encountered, for weeks on end, every time I took a trip to my local shopping centre. Click here for the direct link.

As with all major cities in South Africa, the traffic during peak hours in Pretoria is horrific. It often forces me to take longer alternative routes. These roundabout drives inevitably take me to places I’ve not seen in a while, and I’m normally shocked at what I see. There are signs of environmental decay and dilapidated structures everywhere! Some of these structures are new ones that were obviously abandoned by their developers. In many of the secluded spots road signs are nonexistent, and where they do exist they’ve either been vandalised, or accidentally flattened by vehicles.

At every major busy 4-way intersection you will find people (whites and blacks), begging for food or money, and crowds of Blacks standing on the side of the road waiting for a “Wit Baas” (White Boss) to stop and offer them work. It’s actually quite amusing to watch the scenes taking place when a 4x4 vehicle pulls over. The vehicle basically gets ‘attacked’ from all sides, and then the negotiations start. When the vehicle finally pulls off, usually with only one or two labourers, the ones left behind start arguing among themselves, until the next vehicle stops.

Then you get the squatters, mainly from Zim, who seldom bother begging or looking for work, as they have been attacked too often by locals. You’ll find them occupying every available open space of veldt, usually in strategic spots where they have an open view surrounding them, in case they are stalked or harassed by the local Blacks. You’ll notice their smoke-filled ‘campsites’ from the main routes, while crawling along in the traffic. You’ll also find them in or near the local rubbish dumps where some make a few rands by recycling the stuff wealthy people throw away… Others, of course, have turned to crime.

Municipal authorities have long-ago stopped cleaning up the mess. That was last done a few weeks before the 2010 Soccer World Cup. However, when the big soccer uproar was all over, and after the government was happy that they’d fooled the entire world, everything went back to the way it was.

The few videos I've already uppoaded to YouTube will reveal that I am not the pessimistic type, and neither am I the type who gets a thrill from incessantly hammering on depressing news. However, I can get quite mad when I see the country I once loved going to the dogs. I almost flipped when I read the latest news that South Africa's natural environment has, over the past 20 years, deteriorated so fast.

Here is the full news report sourced from The initial Afrikaans report from Beeld can be read here.

SA environment rapidly deteriorating
Sapa | 13 February, 2012 08:12

South Africa's natural environment has, over the past 20 years, deteriorated nearly the fastest of most countries in the world, a newspaper reports.

According to the Beeld this was the finding of a group of scientists at the universities of Yale and Columbia, in the United States, who measured the state of the environment in 132 countries, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

South Africa was in 128th place, with Iraq last on the list.

Using 22 indicators, researchers found the Swiss had managed and conserved their natural environment the best.

Swiss air and water quality, biodiversity and the management and conservation of ecosystems were found to be the best in the world. According to the report, it was clear South Africa's air and water quality, biodiversity, the functioning of its ecosystems, and its agricultural and fishery systems, had seriously deteriorated.

The researchers also measured and compared the current state of human health with that in 1992.

The Wildlife and Environment Society of SA said the findings were shocking. Director Garth Barnes said it was clear that environmental laws in South Africa were not being applied, even though the country had some of the best environmental legislation in the world.

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Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

The state of our beloved country is bad if you look at the squattercamps etc.But i'm ashamed to say that the white people is just as quilty.We live on smallholdings close to a closed dump.People still dump their rubish here on the sidewalk,and 90% of them are white people.

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