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Monday, March 30, 2009

Joburg's urban forest to grow

Already the largest manmade urban forest in the world, Johannesburg is planning to add thousands more trees to its landscape, greening the traditionally neglected townships.

Thousands of trees will be planted across Joburg over the next three years under City Parks's new One tree at a time campaign.

Some 100 000 indigenous trees will planted on the streets of new and developing suburbs under the campaign, which will be launched on Monday, 3 September.

According to Prema Naidoo, the member of the mayoral committee for environment, the campaign is aimed at solving greening problems caused by urbanisation. "There is a collective need to accelerate greening programmes to enhance the quality of life of every resident."

One tree at a time is an appeal to individuals and business to work with the City in building a greener and healthier Johannesburg, says Jenny Moodley, the City Parks spokesperson. The agency will plant 9 500 street trees during Arbor Month to add to the 2 100 already planted. Various completed road island initiatives will also be unveiled.

Arbor Day – when people are encouraged to plant trees - is celebrated nationally on 1 September; in 1999, the government extended the celebration for a week, running from 1 to 7 September. City Parks will run its programmes over the full month.

Some R44-million has been set aside for the City Parks campaign. "This is a huge investment in greening and beatifying our city," says Johnny Masinga, the organisational developmental adviser at Equity Aviation, one of the companies that is working with City Parks on One tree at a time. Through supporting the project, companies will have a chance to help fight climate change.

"Residents are reminded that we have a collective responsibility to nurture our greenery, as trees improve air quality, provide a habitat for wildlife and have the potential to increase property values," Moodley adds.

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The painting is by Alfred Glendening

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