Reading the Monday Paper main article (Vol 27 no 12, 4-17 August) this morning I felt that we were doing something good.
This great feeling was short-lived though. Walking out onto the street at lunchtime, I was horrified!
There were pieces of paper stuck to the sidewalk with sticky-tape!! Yes, we need to get the message across, but that doesn't justify the means. The tape will take years to decompose, and the carbon footprint of the paper and ink makes it even worse.
The "fines" stuck to the car windows were another horror! I walked to my car and tried to remove the "fine", and just as I suspected, the glue stayed behind. I will now need to use a blade and glue removers(soap, thinners etc) - this won't be great for the environment either. Being green means exactly that, it needs to be in your being.
It is not something you do once or because it is in fashion or to be visible. The article talked about a recycling initiative, that is great! If we want to do better we should try and prevent the creation of the recyclables.
If UCT wants to be green we should consider some of the following:
It is very laudable that UCT has held a Green Week initiative. Hopefully, this will lead to our community taking a more environmentally conscious approach to the use of resources. Walking up to campus during Green Week, it was rather strange to see contractors using a fuel-driven air blower to try to clean up leaves and other rubbish. Not only does this method not work well in windy cities like Cape Town, but it also requires fuel, a significant disadvantage in this time of high oil prices, and it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, a worker with a brush and dirt pan is a far more environmentally friendly method for dealing with dead leaves, as well as being considerably more effective in windy places.
Prof Chris Reason,
Department of Oceanography
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