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The Banana City is the freshest fruit in the clean metro basket.
And KwaZulu-Natal agriculture and environmental affairs MEC Mtholephi Mthikhulu, pictured, has applauded the eThekwini municipality for winning the national cleanest town competition in the metro category.
eThekwini municipality was followed by the Newcastle municipality and nine other local municipalities that took part in the local municipality category.
They were all awarded certificates for their cleanliness at a celebration in the city at the weekend.
The panel of adjudicators assessed pollution levels, general cleanliness, community awareness and waste management to determine the winners.
The competition was the brainchild of the Department of Environmental Affairs in partnership with provincial departments and municipalities.
Mthimkhulu said the award given to Ethekwini and the recognition of Newcastle was a clear indication that the environmental component in his department was working hard to meet resolutions of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the United Nations Environment Programme's goals of reducing harmful emissions.
He encouraged his department to move beyond the regulations.
He said it should ensure that it provided technical and financial support to municipalities with limited capacity.
"To achieve this the department formed partnerships with all municipalities to help them develop strategic plans for sustainable cleanliness," Mthimkhulu said.
"We have managed to educate millions of people in the province about the importance of cleanliness and environment management in general."
Mthimkhulu said the recognition was an indication of the general cleanliness of the province.
It would serve as encouragement to other municipalities to work even harder to create cleaner air systems.
He said seeing that June was Youth Month, youngsters could act as agents of change by joining hands with their local municipalities and all sectors of society to encourage the general public to start going green and to stop littering.