21 February 2018 Photo pixabay
Water-wise expert says Is there a solution to pollution
Next time you want to throw something away, think twice. Look for ways to reuse, recycle, or repurpose.

Dr Cindé Greyling completed her PhD in Disaster Management with DiMTEC (Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa) at the University of the Free State (UFS). Built on prior studies and years of communication experience, she opted to study ways in which to communicate drought mitigation information. Part of the mitigation process included saving water and reducing pollution.

A practical approach

“Look, we are all here now. And we need to eat, live, work, survive, and ultimately thrive using our planet’s resources,” she says. “But I think we’ve become so fixated on thriving, that we don’t consider survival anymore. Of course, some people do! There are wonderful projects around the world aiming at more responsible consuming, ranging from pre-loved baby clothes, to water harvesting for individual dwellings and larger compounds.” However, she understands that people may get so overwhelmed by the vast pollution problem that they consider any of their own efforts as insignificant. “That is not true. Every single bit of plastic (or cloth, glass, iron, etc.) that is recycled or repurposed, and does not end up in a landfill, makes a difference.” And here is why…

The tip of the iceberg
“Whatever you are holding in your hand and aiming for the bin is much larger than what you see. Take a piece of paper, for example. A tree was planted – the process involved fossil fuels, water, fertiliser, time, wages, administration, etc. And many years of that! Once it was felled, the resource usages continued, and expanded to processing plants, wholesalers, retailers, and then you – who also used resources to acquire that piece of paper. Do you see how large the wastage is? The same is true for food waste … that rotten tomato you forgot in the fridge is a grave loss.”

“Whatever you are holding in your hand,
aiming for the bin, is much larger what
you see.”

Little by little  

Fortunately, all is not lost. “Respect stuff,” Dr Greyling says, “it is as simple as that. To survive, we must take from the resources that the Earth provides. Because we became clever, we were able to alter these elements to make, from high-rise buildings to tiny technology. But we simply cannot keep on taking and taking without giving back Start with giving respect. Next time you want to throw something away, think twice. Look for ways to reuse, recycle, or repurpose. Consider that the denim you are wearing possibly used up to 10 000 litres of water to produce.”  

LISTEN: Dr Greyling elaborates on solutions for pollution


We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.