JUNE 4, 2015: THE Coega Development Corporation, which recently obtained its ISO 14001: 2004 Environmental Management Requirements re-certification for the 2014/15 financial year, is supporting the call by the United Nations (UN) to observe World Environment Day tomorrow, Friday (June 5).
CDC obtained the ISO 14001: 2004 certification through an independent international accredited certification body: Bureau Veritas. This standard has environmental requirements to which the organisation has to comply with consistently.
The Coega Search and Rescue programme is of conservation importance. Plants, such as indigenous Aloe ferrox and Pachypodium Bispinosum, that are removed when ground is cleared for new development in the IDZ, are rescued and used in rehabilitation of identified areas in the Coega Open Space. Plants are additionally held in the Coega Nursery and made available for landscaping when required.
“We fully support the UN’s celebration of our planet on World Environment Day. It will help deepen publics’ awareness of the importance of our environment,” said Andrea Shirley, CDC’s Environmental Project Manager.
Coega environmental experts are currently rehabilitating the MR 435, an old road alignment, in the IDZ with the aim of returning the area to its natural habitat.
“The area is being rehabilitated with aloes and forbs that were searched and rescued from developer areas in the Coega IDZ.“ The rehabilitation of Coega’s open spaces includes management of indigenous plants and species and alien plant eradication,” said Shirley.
Environmental Legislation stipulates alien vegetation should be cleared. “One of the conditions of the IDZ’s Environmental Permit was that an Alien Plant Eradication programme be developed and implemented. A commonly found alien plant species in the Coega IDZ is the Acacia Cyclops, also known as Red-Eyed Wattle. Coega spends between R250 000 and R500 000 a year on this project,” she said.
The CDC has developed an Open Space Management Plan (OSMP) which sets out the uses of the open space areas within the IDZ. The primary objectives of developing the OSMP are to promote preservation of the environment, manage the cultural resources, preserve land for its aesthetic value and to meet recreational space demands for IDZ tenants.
“In the last six months we’ve rescued 2 826 plants. Some of these species went to the Coega nursery, some were used in the landscaping in the Coega Vulindlela Village garden and the majority of the plants have been used in the rehabilitation of the old MR435. Aloe ferox, Boophane distica and Pachypodium bispinosum are some of the plants that have been rescued,” she added.
“Appreciation and preservation of the CDC’s natural environs is an important element to the organisation. Understanding the environment we operate in is critical in living in sync with our surroundings,” said Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC unit head marketing and communications.
Author: Mercy Thinyane
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