A memorial garden has been opened to honour all South Africans who have succumbed to COVID-19, as well as all frontline professionals and staff who have worked tirelessly to treat patients with the virus.
Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Makhotso Sotyu, opened the garden on Tuesday during the launch of National Arbor Month in Thaba Nchu, Free State.
National Arbor Month is an annual campaign coordinated by the national Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, in partnership with Total South Africa.
Tree planting activities for the 2020 National Arbor Month campaign will focus on remembrance, and commemorative tree planting and greening of settlements, as well as creation of remembrance gardens.
This year’s campaign takes place under the theme, ‘Forests and Biodiversity’, signifying the importance of protecting and conserving the country’s biodiversity as the backbone of South Africa’s economy and livelihoods.
“September is also Heritage Month and as we celebrate Arbor Month, the department also focuses on the country’s champion trees, which include some of the oldest, largest and culturally significant trees.
“National Arbor Month is an opportune time to call on all South Africans to plant indigenous trees as a practical and symbolic gesture of sustainable environmental management,” Sotyu said.
Sotyu encouraged all South Africans to plant at least one indigenous tree this month.
“It will promote greening, increase habitats for tree-dwelling species, and contribute to cleaner air,” she said.