Community action at Orange River Mouth Ramsar site

Community action at Orange River Mouth Ramsar site

10 March 2000

Greetings Ramsar Bureau Folk!

War was declared in Oranjemund, the town next to the Orange River Mouth Ramsar Site.  War on litter that is!

A big clean-up day was organised for Saturday 4 March 2000 as a response to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism's declaration that the year 2000 be the year of "Safeguarding our fragile Environment".  Organised by the local women's group Desert Femme, the campaign was supported by Namdeb Diamond Corporation, the local Spar supermarket, schools, sports clubs and other local organisations.  The clean-up covered the entire area around Oranjemund, including the Ramsar site.  Armed with big bags all participants swarmed out to fight the litter problem.  Participants included the Honorable Minister of Environment and Tourism Mr Philemon Malima, the Managing Director of Namdeb Ms Inge Zamwaani, the General Manager of Namdeb Mr Alan Ashworth, the Assistant General Managers of Namdeb and members of the Namdeb Environmental Steering Committee.  Unfortunately the torrential rains experienced over the subcontinent over the last few weeks made cleaning of large parts of the Ramsar site impossible (unless you had a submarine!).   In his address to the community of Oranjemund after the clean-up, Minister Malima stressed the importance of waste management in small towns and villages and praised the Oranjemund community for taking the initiative.  The local Spar supermarket was also praised for its efforts to recycle plastic shopping bags (25c will be charged for each new bag and the money thus raised will be used for environmental projects).

Best Regards, Holger Kolberg

Holger Kolberg
Principal Conservation Scientist
Ministry of Environment and Tourism
Private Bag 13306
Tel. +264-61-263131, Fax +264-61-259101,

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The Assistant General Manager of Namdeb, Mr Alan Ashworth, addressing the community while Ms Inge Zamwaani, Managing Director of Namdeb and the Honourable Minister of Environment and Tourism Mr Philemon Malima await their turn.

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A small fraction of the litter that was collected.

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The signboard at the Ramsar site, almost in the water of the river (normally this sign is a few hundred meters away from the river).