Making a difference: Dr Hanna-Andrea Rother (third from right) received her GCI Backsberg Sustainability Awards to some fanfare and with support from (from left) Ashleigh Arton, (incoming chairperson of GCI), Muriel Gravenor (ACDI postgraduate student), Jenny Back (Backsberg wine estate), Gina Ziervogel (Department of Environmental and Geographical Science) and Kate Pallett (outgoing GCI chairperson), with pro vice-chancellor Prof Mark New at the back.
This year's winner of the Green Campus Initiative (GCI) Backsberg Sustainability Award champions the cause to reduce staff and students' exposure to hazardous chemicals, especially pesticides.
Dr Hanna-Andrea Rother, of UCT's Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research, won the award in recognition of her work to stop the spraying of herbicides for weed control on the health sciences campus, and to reduce herbicide spraying on upper campus.
She is also responsible for halting the routine pest-control spraying in UCT buildings. Since her intervention, spraying activities take place only in reaction to a confirmed pest problem, and never during working hours. Also, staff are warned at least 48 hours prior to spraying.
The GCI also presented runner-up prizes to a student group at Fuller Hall, who organised their own Green Week, and Andrea Steer, a technical officer in the print making department of the Michaelis School of Fine Art, who set up a two-bin recycling system on the Hiddingh campus. These prizes were sponsored by the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI).
The awards recognise the work done by students and staff to make UCT more sustainable and are endorsed by the pro vice-chancellor for Climate Change and Development, Professor Mark New.
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