16 November 2012 – To encourage environmental sustainability and as a response to climate change, the Eskom Development Foundation has funded 9 000 trees that will be planted across five different municipalities in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

The Thembisile Hani, Dr JS Moroka, Albert Luthuli, Mkhonto, Pixley ka Seme and Nkomazi municipalities will each receive 1,500 trees to be planted at various schools across the province.

Not only do trees help to clean the air we breathe by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen but they also provide food and help to prevent erosion and flooding. In recent years trees across South Africa have been chopped down to make way for buildings and plant sizes are shrinking dramatically.

Indigenous fruit bearers such as the harpephyllum caffrum or wild plum, water berry, mangos, apricots and apple trees will be planted, which Eskom Development Foundation’s CEO, Haylene Liberty, believes will play an important part in increasing levels of food security and limiting the impact of industrialisation.

“Trees are essential to life as we know it. At the moment when we are seeing rapid climate change, it has never been more important for us to join hands to make sure the environment is kept clean and there is plenty of food for future generations. The Eskom Foundation is involved in these kinds of partnerships to contribute positively to the communities in which we operate and enhance the quality of people’s lives.”

Zakhele primary school in Tweefontein, KwaMhlanga became the first beneficiary to receive trees.The initiative is being carried out in collaboration with the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa) and the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism in the province.

Through its variety of programmes, Wessa promotes public participation in caring for the environment and is one of Africa’s oldest environmental NGOs.