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Bag says JCPZ award is a ‘slap in the face’

CRAIGHALL – Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo has declined to comment on the statement from the Borer Action Group.

The Borer Action Group (Bag) says that National Arbor City Award presented to Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) is a slap in the face to those who are doing their best to fight the shot-hole borer crisis.

Read JCPZ response here

Spokesperson for Bag Julian Ortlepp said that he was not impressed with the decision by City Parks to only remove dead trees. “It is a proven fact that by removing reproductive host trees, the beetle population declines significantly.”

He said that professors from various universities have wasted their time meeting with City Parks to guide them on what action to take regarding the crisis since their recommendations have not been implemented.

Ortlepp said that one of the most important aspects of trying to control the spread of the beetle is the provision of a dedicated facility to process the infested wood.

“It is a certainty that the lack of a designated dumping facility has led to the wider spread of the beetle as infested wood has been transported all over the city to dumps spread far and wide and sold as firewood on the side of the road. The movement is one of the fastest ways in which the beetle is spread and an incredibly important aspect that City Parks has not dealt with.”

Ortlepp said that City Parks has repeatedly passed the buck to homeowners and other city entities, with homeowners expected to complete the impractical and short-sighted task of cutting down infested trees and solarising them on their properties.

“This award is a slap in the face for those who are actively doing their best to fight the crisis… It boggles the mind how City Parks could have even been considered for this award, given its mismanagement of our trees and the PSHB crisis.”

Bag believes that national government shows a lack of understanding for the crisis by awarding City Parks this prize, saying that it creates the impression that all is well when according to Ortlepp, Joburg is facing an environmental catastrophe.

“The management and board of City Parks should rather be facing an enquiry into why they have chosen to neglect their duty to protect our urban forest and slaphow remedial action should be implemented.”

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