City of Joburg and Miss Earth SA spruce up Mshenguville Park


On World Environment Day, Miss Earth SA contestants along with social activist and Play Your Part ambassador Catherine Constantinides, as well as the mayor of Johannesburg, set off to clean up Mshenguville Park.

On World Environment Day, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba and climate activist Catherine Constantinides join forces with members of the community to clean up Mshenguville Park in Soweto. The exercise, on 5 June 2017, emphasises the importance of preserving the environment. (Image: Mathiba Molefe)

Mathiba Molefe

It is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture in one’s day-to-day life, but it is important that society keeps track of issues regarding the environment, and that people safeguard natural resources as well as play a part in caring for Earth.

It was with this in mind that around the world people took action to clean up their communities to mark World Environment Day on 5 June, a day on which people are encouraged to make concerted efforts to improve and maintain their natural surroundings.

Mshenguville Park in Soweto was no exception. Miss Earth SA contestants and Catherine Constantinides, the Miss Earth SA director, a climate activist and Play Your Part ambassador, as well as Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba, got to work cleaning the park of dangerous and unsightly waste.

“As the City of Joburg, we have the responsibility of looking after the environment,” said Mashaba.

The clean-up was part of the #WasteStopsWithMe campaign, a collaboration between Miss Earth SA, Joburg waste collection agency Pikitup and the Canadian High Commission to South Africa.

The partners gathered at the park, along with residents from the surrounding areas, to help pick up the large amount of litter that had collected there. It is mainly from illegal dumping, which is commonplace.

From car tyres and carpets to old shoes and food containers, the group collected numerous bags of waste scattered throughout the park. It looked much better for it by the time they were done.

“We see waste every single day; it’s something we can do something about, so how are you going to ensure we’re leaving a beautiful country behind for the next generation?” A question that Play Your Part Ambassador Catherine Constantinides, posed to all South Africans.

Your city, your hood, your environment

Mashaba pointed out that keeping the environment clean would help the city make better use of its budget, saying that illegal dumping cost the city about R80-million annually.

“I think as the City of Johannesburg, like all the other cities all over the world, we have the responsibility as the current generation to ensure that we look after the environment,” he said.

“Looking after the environment is not something that we look at only from a cleanliness point of view. Yes, we need cleanliness, but I think it’s actually about looking at the big picture.”

Constantinides explained that the ongoing #WasteStopsWithMe campaign was aimed at getting people across South Africa to embrace the role they played in protecting the environment.

“Let us celebrate this beautiful country that we call South Africa. We do indeed have the most beautiful country in the world and our landscapes show it to us every single day,” she said.

“It’s for us to preserve that natural heritage and stand proud as South Africans.”

Miss Earth SA contestants were also on hand to help drive home the message of the #WasteStopsWithMe campaign aimed at getting all South Africans to do their little part in dealing with issues around waste.

Play your part and get involved

Constantinides said it was “critically important for all South Africans everywhere to get involved; we all have to play our part in making sure that we preserve the spaces around us”.

To find out more about the #WasteStopsWithMe campaign, use the hashtag to follow the conversations on social media.

“So #WasteStopsWithMe is an individual call to action to say ‘what can I do, as an active citizen, to really address the environmental challenges through waste’.

“We see waste every single day; it’s something we can do something about, so how are you going to ensure we’re leaving a beautiful country behind for the next generation?”

To find out more about Miss Earth SA, visit the website at

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