How good is this but first, let’s be honest? Did you know there was an International Water Week held towards the end of August? I didn’t. The point is, logistics service provider Unitrans did and as a way of elevating awareness of the week – as well as broader environmental challenges – the company partnered with Adopt-a-River, a non-profit organisation dedicated to making a difference in our waterways, uniting their efforts in a river clean-up initiative as part of International Water Week.
The event was held at the Unitrans depot in Clairwood, Kwa-Zulu Natal and showcased collaboration among critical stakeholders, including neighbouring companies, the community and the government.
“We have prioritised several sustainability goals and have made a firm commitment to making a positive impact and being responsible in our consumption and everything we do,” says Unitrans CEO Terry Bantock. “The clean-up day was a reflection of this. Unitrans believes in the power of partnership and proactive engagement to drive positive change. Through initiatives like this, we aim to inspire and encourage a broader movement towards safeguarding our planet for future generations.”
And it wasn’t only for this occasion that Unitrans put its environmental sustainability gloves on. The partnership between Unitrans and Adopt-a-River goes back to November 2022 when the two organisations linked hands to combat daily issues affecting the Umhlatuzane canal and its banks. The project’s inception highlighted the problems plaguing the Umhlatuzane River and its surroundings.
The project involves waste collection from the Umhlatuzane River adjacent to the company’s Clairwood depot, tackling illegally dumped waste and controlling the alien invasive species along the riverbank.
The clean-up day highlighted the on-going efforts to restore the Umhlatuzane River by clearing some significant sand deposits and blocking off slip road access, which was illegally used for washing vehicles and dumping waste and chemicals into the river.
By Unitrans’ dedication to adopting a portion of the river and fostering sustainable practices, the event echoed a resounding call for collective action in safeguarding natural resources.
The dedicated group of environmental enthusiasts comprised Unitrans and Adopt-a-River staff, representatives from the community, Ethekwini Municipality, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, neighbouring companies dedicated their time and effort to address some of the challenges faced on the Umhlatuzane River.
Founder and Director of Adopt-a-River Janet Simpkins stressed the importance of collaboration: “By embracing the concept of adopting and maintaining a space along a river, ordinary individuals can become water warriors. The need for water security, particularly in the face of global climate change, cannot be over-emphasised. Protecting our precious water resources and keeping them pollution-free is vital. We are grateful to all the stakeholders for joining hands with us to support this important initiative.”
Commenting on the excellent turnout of various stakeholders, Head of Accelerated Organisational Sustainability at Unitrans, Liesl de Wet, added: “Considering the multiple stressors impacting our rivers, now more than ever, a unified approach is required to protect our rivers, wetlands, and broader catchments. We are delighted that our neighbours, community members and government stakeholders joined us on this important initiative.”
Although FleetWatch was not aware of International Water Week, what we are constantly aware of is the critical importance of water resources and the need to address environmental challenges that pose dangers to our water resources. In this light, we compliment Unitrans on its proactive stance in looking over the fence of its Durban depot and seeing a problem – and then tackling that problem. FleetWatch has always stated that the trucking industry demonstrates a big and a warm heart in so many ways. This is one example of this.
So it’s hats off and a big thank you to Unitrans for embarking on an initiative which, as Bantock says; “aims to inspire and encourage a broader movement towards safeguarding our planet for future generations.” Thank you for thinking of our kids and grandkids. Up the Truckers!