‘Heal the world, make it a better place’ – was the theme song and ‘ice-breaker’ which Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) of Eden District Municipality’s (Eden DM) performed during an Environmental Health and Hygiene Session held at the Geelhoutboom Primary School.
The theme and focus area of the day was Environmental Pollution Control.
One of the main legislative responsibilities of Municipal Health Services is to educate the public and to create awareness about environmental health and hygiene matters. It is for this reason that a pilot campaign was launched at the Geelhoutboom Primary School. The aim of the project was to raise awareness of the various types of pollution, the risks posed by the pollution, the hazards of pollution and how it can be prevented.
On Thursday, 10 May 2017, approximately 100 learners, ranking from Grade R to Grade 7, participated in an interactive educational session. The Deputy Portfolio Chairperson of Community Services, Cllr Erica Meyer, addressed the learners on pollution, the different types of pollution and how pollution can be prevented. This was followed by a practical waste sorting demonstration, conducted by Messrs Wayne Odendaal and Johan Gie of the District Waste Management Section. Four (4) recycling boxes representing the four types of waste that can be re-used (plastic, paper, glass and tins) were sorted. Volunteers from the audience performed this exercise.
Mr Geoffrey Bredenkamp from the George Municipality Laboratory Services, presented an informal, basic presentation on the processes involved in water purification. Learners showed a keen interest and was encapsulated when Mr Bredenkamp showed them how water looks as a result of pollution, before the purification process.
Ms Jenay van Niekerk from the District Air Quality Management Section spoke about the long- and short-term illnesses which results from air pollution. In conclusion, Ms Van Niekerk featured a video, which depicted ways in which to prevent air pollution. At the end of each session, learners were asked questions regarding specific topics.
The Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA) collaborated with Eden DM on this project to educate learners about water pollution and water quality. Mr Abrahams of BGCMA featured a video about Water Safety, which was followed by Ms Janine van Wyk, EHP of Eden DM, who demonstrated proper hand washing techniques.
An interactive role-play performance named ‘Freddie die Vis’, can be described as the highlight of the day. Ms Lana Don, EHP from Eden DM, tasked learners to showcase and demonstrate the effect of water pollution on the survival of a fish (Freddie). Learners were captured by the story and one could see the disappointment on their faces when Freddie ‘died’ due to pollution.
In the build-up towards the project, a colouring-in competition was introduced on 15 March 2018, which ended on 17 April 2018. Learners were given the opportunity to illustrate and colour in pictures of how to prevent pollution in their residential areas. A judging panel was appointed and the best picture per grade was selected. The winners were announced during the launch and they received prizes sponsored by Checkers ‘Paddagat’ who also collaborated with the project.
Ms Emmy Douglas, Chief: Municipal Health-George, thanked the Principal and teachers for the opportunity to educate the learners. Ms Douglas also thanked all stakeholders who joined hands in making the project a success.