Fish River Canyon clean-up campaign bags 82.5 kg of waste
Another successful Fish River Canyon clean-up campaign was recorded, following the 2017 operation which took place from 26 to 30 September. Established in 2014, this annual waste collection campaign was initiated and organized by the Ministry of Environment & Tourism (MET) and supported by the Recycle Namibia Forum (RNF).
Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) and NamParks IV were the main sponsors of the event who sponsored first aid kits, meat, assorted drinks, T-shirts, hats and water bottles. Cable ties, duct tape, heavy duty refuse bags and gloves were sponsored by the RNF and Gondwana respectively while Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) sponsored accommodation facilities.
According to MET representative and warden of the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (ARTP), Boly Shetukana, the 37 volunteers who entered the canyon at different days were divided into ‘10km, 20km and 60km’ groups, and were scheduled to return to the start point on 30 September.
Shetukana said, “This allowed us to have more time to clean thoroughly, covering inaccessible areas in the Canyon while at the same time enjoying the hike and scenery of the canyon. The total amount of waste collected was approximately 82.5 kg and consisted of bottles, tins, plastic, shoes, clothes and toilet paper. The load of waste was carried out by hands until the exit point at Ai-Ais where everything was weighed, separated and taken to the recycle plant. This exercise does not only add value to the Fish River Canyon hiking trail but also creates ownership and a sense of responsibility to the hikers and surrounding communities alike.”
According to Shetukana, the Fish River hiking season starts the first day of May and ends the last day of September each year. This activity is very popular and therefore it attracts many people from different parts of the world and at the same time it promotes tourism and adds marketing value to the Fish River Canyon. At the end of the hiking season the canyon is littered with rubbish left behind by the hikers which ultimately led to the birth of the annual Fish River Canyon Clean-up Campaign.
RNF Coordinator, Anita Witt said, “Namibia’s unique landscape, beautiful and priceless natural resources are part of our country’s treasure. RNF is very passionate about the Namibian heritage that has proven to be a strong attractor of tourists to the country. If we don’t take care of it, who will? Thus we are committed to continuously support, and drive such initiatives with passion, to ensure that future generations also get to appreciate and enjoy our beautiful country in all its glory.”
The support towards the Fish Rive Canyon Clean-up Campaign, according to MET’s Deputy Director: Southern Regions, Harry Tjihukununa has been growing from strength to strength. Tjihukununa: “Both the public and business sector have shown great interest and always willing to be a part of this great event. Our aim is to clean and restore the Fish River Canyon to its natural splendor, thus most of the necessary items needed to achieve this task are sponsored. We are confident that the relationship we share with our valued sponsors and stakeholders will grow from strength to strength, and we invite the rest of corporate Namibia to come on board in order to ensure and secure the future sustainability of Namibia and her natural heritage.”