Durban’s Sustainable Living Exhibition 2013, hosted by the eThekwini Municipality, was attended by approximately 10 000 people and 113 schools this year – all keen to support this green event in South Africa. The Sustainable Living Exhibition is the brain child of Imagine Durban Project which is a council led, community based initiative that started in 2007 in partnership with Sustainable Cities International (SCI) and Sustainable International Network (SIN).
The Sustainable Living Exhibition aims to bring together and showcase the many initiatives being implemented by various organizations and individuals which contribute towards sustainable development and livelihoods within the eThekwini Municipality. It also aims to provide an opportune learning, sharing and networking experience to the broad section of public and to inspire action at individual or community level.
Visitors to the exhibition were exposed to innovations and initiatives related to energy efficiency and renewable energy, waste minimisation and recycling, water harvesting and conservation, food gardening, climate change adaption and mitigation, biodiversity protection, green home improvements and creative arts.
Over 200 exhibitors showcased everything from solar equipment and rain water harvesting tanks to indigenous plants, organic compost and creative recycling. The eco-friendly, zero emission car, Nissan Leaf, created a stir at the exhibition and wowed many motoring and green enthusiasts at the exhibition.
The Deputy Mayor, Cllr Nomvuzo Shabalala was impressed with the level of expertise and innovation at the exhibition. “It is heartening to see the efforts people are making to ensure the sustainability of our city and the planet. If every one of us made a contribution, whether it is saving energy and water, recycling, growing our own food gardens, we would be able to build a sustainable City. I am especially impressed to see schools doing so much. It puts me at ease knowing that the sustainability seed is planted in the minds of our youth and that our environment is safe in hands of our younger generation.”
Mr Bongumusa Zondo, Senior Manager of Long Term Planning in the Municipality said that the Sustainable Living Exhibition began as part of the Imagine Durban project to showcase various ways in which people can get involved in creating the city of their dreams. “It is imperative that we cut down our carbon footprint and reduce the use of our natural resources as much as possible. The country faces huge water and electricity shortages, and this exhibition challenges people to think differently and to live more sustainably.”
Schools and social justice organisations also had a platform at the exhibition with the Human Trafficking display winning overall first prize for their harrowing honesty of this scourge that affects so many young women. Mayor Moya Hay said, “the exhibit aimed to shock people into the reality of human trafficking and show how women are abused and transported into unknown countries where they have nowhere to turn. It aimed to raise awareness and cut down the incidence of trafficking in our communities.”