'Educate your child to care about the environment'
Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, has called on young people to also regard the environment as another career.
Mabhudafasi who was speaking at Onseepkans in the Northern Cape, where she launched a Weedbust Campaign, believes that education on the importance of water and environment should start at a tender age.
Weedbust Campaign promotes the control of alien plants that are posing a danger to the environment and indigenous plants in South Africa.
She said during this month her department has planned to educate communities and children about alien plants and the connection to gardening and agriculture practices.
“We have a lot of projects that we want youth to be involved in. We need to instil the passion, so that they can see this sector as another career path,” she said.
Mabudafhasi said these plants are called aliens because they not originally from South Africa. They sneak into to the country in many ways.
However, the biggest effect is that they spread quickly, pushing out local diversity and putting a strain on both commercial and farming. She said many farmers have abandoned farming because of the alien plants.
“About 7% percent of water is being guzzled by the invasive alien plants and the situation will get worse.”
She said though they affected the environment but some were good for medical use.
“The country is water scarce and in provinces such as Northern Cape, this is an issue of life and death. These plants are available everywhere in the world not only in South Africa.”
Mabhudafhasi said well-known examples of alien plants include Acacia pycnantha, passion fruit and granadilla that many people have in their gardens.
“There are many alien plants and they are categorised according to its use. We have introduced biological control that can provide complete control of the problem, it reduces the need for using a chemical substance.
"The biological control of weeds is the most suitable option because it is relatively cheap and very safe compared to the costs and risks associated with using herbicide. We will control them using insects and fungi, which we refer to as goggas!”