Sasolburg, South Africa – In support of National Arbour Week, Sasol and Natref planted karee trees at the Bekezela Primary School in Amelia, Metsimaholo on Friday, 7 September 2018. This was the initial step in the drive through which 200 trees are being planted next to the 100 waste skip bins donated by Sasol and Natref to the communities of Amelia and Iraq in Metsimaholo.

According to Bob Kleynjan, Sasol’s Sasolburg Operations Senior Manager Environment, the Sasolburg Operations and Natref Atmospheric Emission Licences contain a condition to work with local authorities and the community in an effort to reduce particulate matter and sulphur dioxide in the ambient environment. “The planting of the trees forms part of our drive to positively influence the environment as trees, in addition to providing several other advantages, also produce oxygen into the ambient air,” said Kleynjan.

To positively influence ambient air quality Sasol and Natref already embarked on an extensive programme as from 2016 to reduce the impact of fires in Amelia and Iraq, specifically entailing cutting and baling of overgrown grass, rehabilitation of illegal dump sites and providing serviced waste skip bins where residents can dispose of their waste. The dump sites and long veld grass are often set alight, impacting on the ambient air quality and also posing a health and safety risk to the community. The programme ensures that the skips are emptied regularly, while it also donated grass cutting and baling equipment to the Metsimaholo Local Municipality to enable them to keep grass in Amelia and Iraq short. In addition, Sasol and Natref donated a rapid intervention vehicle (RIV) to allow fire fighters to respond timeously to fires in the fairly inaccessible areas of Amelia and Iraq.

“Trees play an important role in the health and well-being of our communities as it not only provides shade, food and shelter but also improves air quality through oxygen production. It is therefore vital to teach our children about the importance of trees in our environment and the significant role they play in our future. We urge the community to look after the trees and keep on placing waste to be removed in the skips for the benefit of our community,” said Kleynjan.

As a karee tree is an evergreen, frost hardy, drought resistant tree which can reach up to 8 metres in height with a 5 metre spread, the communities of Amelia and Iraq should reap the benefit of the 200 donated trees for generations to come. It was a wise business man from the 1950s, Warren Buffet, who said “someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”. 

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