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Monday, March 30, 2009

Hundreds of trees will green Alex

Trees are being planted at houses in Alexandra's extension seven, and residents are being challenged to maintain their environment.

Some 600 trees are being planted in Alexandra's extension seven as part of a greening project in the area.

The trees will be planted in residents' gardens; there are 1 400 houses in extension seven. The greening initiative is a joint venture between the City, the Department of Housing, the National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC), Absa bank, City Parks, Gauteng housing department, the Alexandra Development Forum and extension seven residents.

"The [housing] department has sponsored R200 000 to the greening challenge project; Absa bank has provided over 500 fruit trees and we are waiting for City Parks to give indigenous trees," said Isaiah Mabua, the campaign and project manager in the department of housing.

City Parks provided an aerial map of the area before the project got under way to give direction to where the trees should be planted, according to Kgantse Mofokeng, a stakeholder liaison at City Parks.

Residents and about 40 volunteers from various NGOs attended workshops earlier this month where they learned how to plant trees and how to maintain the environment. The NGOs include Shumang, Tswaranang, Thsogang, Suncross and Rhedi, all found in and around Alex. The workshops were taught by Vic and Dave Garden Plant.

"They taught us how to dig holes and the length and width needed for the different sizes of trees. We first dig the hole, put in some bone-meal, the plant, some soil and then the compost," said Elsa Tladi, one of the volunteers.

"Some of us have been planting our own trees at our homes way before the start of the workshop."

Another aim of the initiative is to teach communities how to look after their environment.

"The department started this greening challenge by supplying residents with grass; they asked us to provide them with flowers or trees and we [decided to provide] them with trees," Mabua said.

He explained that department of housing officials would pay regular visits to the area, checking on the maintenance of people's gardens.

"The families who keep their gardens well-maintained will receive cash prizes of up to R10 000 and gift prizes like stoves, fridges and television sets. We will have as many as nine winners."

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The painting is by Alfred Glendening

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