Delegates at the 7th Annual Green Campuses Conference are departing (Thursday), 05 July 2018 in high spirits and determined to drive the ‘green’ agenda in their respective universities.
The symposium, which began on Sunday 01 July, addressed issues of Land and Marine Pollution such as waste management on campuses and sustainable development at universities.
Conference Convener, Phumlani Mnyango, said he was happy with how the conference proceeded this year. “It was a big success, the turn out in terms of the delegates was great. Other universities in South Africa who attended were well represented too,” said Mnyango.
Mnyango stated that one of the main objectives of this conference was to facilitate sharing of knowledge amongst delegates. “When we come together, it’s for us to learn from one another, it’s about sharing the best practices. The conference is about universities coming together and sharing the initiatives they have on their respective campuses. For example, you’ll find a that a university is doing something on saving water, then that is an opportunity for the other university to adopt that practice,” explained Mnyango.
Armed with rubber gloves and reusable garbage bags, delegates who attended the 7th GCI Conference helped clean up the Durban beachfront.
All the waste collected included mainly cigarette ends, straws and cans which are the most harmful objects to ocean life and the environment.
According to data from Ocean Conservancy’s TIDES system in 2018, it shows that straws/stirrers are the 11th most found ocean trash in cleanups, making up about 3% of recovered trash. It further highlights that straws are also especially dangerous to seabirds, as they can be easily picked up and swallowed, suffocating and choking the bird. In fact, over 1 million seabirds die each year from ingesting plastic.
Second year Bachelor of Education student, Siyanda Miya, from DUT said he is happy that he had an opportunity to contribute towards environment preservation. “It was my first time attending a conference like this and It has been pleasant. I have learned a lot of things especially on how we impact the environment,” said Miya.
DUT Industrial Engineering student, Mfumo Mabunda, who is part of the conference committee says a beach clean-up was an important exercise for delegates.
“It was a mandate to put all that was discussed into action, more specifically our coastline because the theme of the conference was land and marine pollution,” said Mabunda.
Delegates separated all the waste collected into recyclable and non-recyclable and disposed it off in public recycling bins.
The conference will be hosted by DUT again next year, and the organizers said they have already started with plans for 2019 conference.
Pictured: Delegates of the 7th Green Campuses Conference pose for a picture after cleaning up the south beach coastline.
By Thembela Makhuba