Many South Africans do not realise the significance and effect the environment can have on human lives, says Zodwa Mathonsi of Umlazi in Durban.
To improve her township Mathonsi has come up with innovative ideas to encourage the community to love nature.
In 1996 she started and now manages Vuka Community Environmental Project aimed at rejuvenating the environment through clean-ups and the planting of indigenous trees.
The project encourages the community to understand the importance of natural surroundings.
"There was also a need to look after streams in the township and address the problem of environmental pollution," Mathonsi says.
"So we started cleaning up and removing alien plants that chocked our streams."
Their biggest clean-up project was the stream between King Zwelithini Stadium and Victoria Mxenge Hall.
Mathonsi says her group consists of youths and older people. Apart from cleaning streams, they have begun planting indigenous trees near the streams.
"We encouraged people not to dump in our streams," she says. "Three members of my family decided to join the project after realising the importance of the job."
Mathonsi and her group offer training to the communities of surrounding townships with the help of the eThekwini Municipality parks department.
"We hope to expand the environmental health project to the whole province."
Sowetan's Mama Angel contributed by donating machines, safety shoes and other cleaning equipment. It was a joyous moment when Mama Angel handed the equipment over to Mathonsi.