A recycling project in Nyandeni Local Municipality kicked off provincial marine day celebrations when it received R1 million in funding from the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT).
The project is part of a series of initiatives underway on the Wild Coast to stimulate economic development and sustainable custodianship of the area’s assets which include 250km of unspoiled coastline and is home to one of South Africa’s three biodiversity hotspots.
The Marine Day event highlights the importance of the ocean economy and environment to the area, which sits in the heart of the Wild Coast, bordered in the north by Mhlontlo, in the south by the Indian Ocean, in the east by Port St Johns, and in the west by King Sabata Dalindyebo.
With its sensitive coastal belt and marine reserves, Nyadeni Local Municipality was identified by the national and provincial government as a coastal smart area in 2019.
Complementing this development, the Wild Coast development initiatives include developing five protected areas – Mkambati, Silaka, Hluleka, Dwesa and Nduli/Lutchaba – as a tourism destination development.
As such, R42,9 million has been injected to nature reserves in the province from the provincial economic stimulus fund to upgrade their infrastructure to boost tourism and this includes Silaka, Hluleka, Mkambati, and Dwesa.
The agency is also working with the national Department of Tourism to bring about a coastal and marine tourism six-day hiking trail that will include Nyandeni, Mngazana, Mpande, and Hluleka Mngcibe in the Nyandeni municipal area. The project also aims to stimulate a circular waste economy and contribute to the fight against marine plastic pollution.
The area is also home to another exciting waste project focused on the marine economy. Recently, the national Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the environment provided specialised waste collection vehicles to several municipalities to reduce the volume of plastics making their way into the ocean.
Small-scale fishermen are also receiving attention. The OR Tambo District Municipality supports small-scale fishers with refrigerated containers to help implement their fishing rights received from the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries & the Environment in 2018.
The N2 Wild Coast Road project is also receiving attention with a biodiversity offset project that is in line with the province’s protected area expansion strategy. It will mitigate the impact of the construction by identifying and establishing conservation areas with local communities in the Mkambati, Lambasi, Mbotyi and Nyandeni areas.
Another initiative to help marine plastic pollution and broader sound environmental practice is the opening of the Nyandeni Local Municipality’s waste disposal facility, licensed by the DEDEAT.
Other environmental projects led by DEDEAT which aim to boost the economy and the sustainability of the environmental assets include the review of the Wild Coast Environmental Management Plan and the Eastern Seaboard Development, which will unlock development for local municipalities as part of the broader presidential programme.
As in previous years, the Department will continue its environmental awareness and community capacity-building programmes with local communities.