Like most urban-based conservancies within the Garden Route, the Great Brak River Conservancy finds itself operating within the realm of assuming responsibility. Roles within awareness, conservation-based community projects, preservation of indigenous species and the eradication of alien invasive plant species are assumed not because conservancies view themselves as the authority or responsible but because they understand the importance of active involvement and preservation of the environment.
One can see evidence of this active involvement if one explores the dune system along Orion Drive, Great Brak River. The Great Brak River Conservancy’s Alien Clearing Team is systematically removing all the Alien Invasive Rooikrans (Acacia cyclops) from this unique coastal critical biodiversity area in efforts to conserve the indigenous vegetation, promote biodiversity and indigenous regrowth.
These efforts are authorised by the Municipality and are financed by the Conservancy from funds procured from the Garden Route Casino Community Trust and other donations from within the community.
The team is often greeted with words of thanks for their efforts, and has received high praise for their expertise. They are motivated by this and take pride in serving the environment and community.
Whilst we assume this responsibility within the Orion Drive Dune System, at an average of R12 000 a month, the project is unfortunately often confronted by what can only be explained as the presumption of certain residents and their contractors.
Dune systems like this – and other green areas – are not private dumping grounds for garden refuse, builders’ material and general waste. The presumption that this kind of behaviour is acceptable because “someone else is going to clean it up” or “the environment doesn’t matter” serves neither the community’s best interest nor the environment.
The degradation of dune systems and green areas by adjacent residents is far too common within the Garden Route.
Residents not only have to take responsibility for their actions, and that of their neighbours, as well as their contractors, but need to be proactive in assuming a positive role in assisting the environment. Incidence of perpetual dumping need to be reported and neighbours need to come together in order to conserve the very green areas that they moved into.
We have a collective responsibility to teach, preserve and protect. “Harmless’’ dumping of garden refuse is not harmless at all. On the contrary, it spreads exotic and invasive species, threatens biodiversity and leaves the door open for the knock-on effects of the broken window syndrome.
Therefore communities living adjacent to ecologically sensitive areas need to assume an active role in their conservation instead of assuming their actions don’t matter or have consequences.
As a part of the Great Brak River Community, we encourage you to help and show care for your surroundings. If you would like to get involved in the restoration of the Orion Drive Dune system or other Conservancy projects, please contact email@example.com
Alternatively, you are invited to attend the upcoming Great Brak River Conservancy Annual General Meeting on 20th May at 10am at the Great Brak River Community Hall.
Illegal dumping can be reported to 044 606 5143 or 044 606 5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org