“Delta’s core business is an investment in the future, so as to make sure that every citizen in the country makes a difference in environmental protection,” resident manager Geoff Lockwood tells Engineering News.
The centre runs a range of environmental education programmes aimed at exposing schools to the environment and instilling in them a sense of environmental responsibility.
To gain access to these services, schools visit the centre, which prepares a theme specifically for that particular school.
“Our decision to target schools came out of common sense, that children currently at school are the future decision-makers, so if they are taught environmental responsibility at a young age, they will, in the future, make environmentally sensible decisions,” says Lockwood.
A challenge to the centre’s pro- grammes is that many schools, especially schools from the pre- viously-disadvantaged communities, cannot afford the amount charged by the centre for its services because of financial constraints.
Delta has, as a result, developed a system to sponsor schools 50% of the costs for visiting the centre, if sponsorship is available.
The centre has also been running a water education programme, in partnership with Gauteng water utility Rand Water, for seven years.
The programme, which is also aimed at schools, seeks to instil high levels of responsibility in using water.
“Gauteng is facing critical water problems, resulting from the water supply being stretched because of the increasing population of the province.
“Our programme aims to promote sensible use of water as an essential resource,” Lockwood says.
He believes that the idea that survival has to supersede environmental protection offers short-term diversion, citing Eastern European countries that have very polluted environments as examples of how the environment can be affected in the long term if a balance is not struck between social solutions and environmental protection.
“In the long term, environ-mental negligence handicaps future development and growth of a country’s economy,” he stresses.
Lockwood also notes that South Africa has some of the best environmental legislation in the world.
However, this legislation has to be properly implemented.
He says there are still concerns about the implementation of the Environmental Management Act, even though, for various reasons, there is an increasing level of voluntary compliance by big multinational companies.
Lockwood notes that littering is still a major problem in South Africa and, as a result, it is an area that Delta has decided to focus on.
“This is an issue that is in need of a change in people’s attitudes and instilling a high level of responsibility by highlighting that the right to a clean environment and responsibility go together,” Lockwood says.
As a Section 21 company that has to rely on sponsorships and donations to continue its work, Delta has widened its services to environmental consulting.
“We view the economic, social and natural environments as inter-connected processes, hence we seek to provide solutions of mitigating negative impact to the natural en- vironment by economic and social developments,” Lockwood explains.
Delta has undertaken projects including environmental-impact assessments and scoping reports for property, mining, as well as nature reserve developments so far.