World Earth Day is an annual celebration that acknowledges and celebrates the achievements of the environmental movement and raises awareness about the dire need to protect the earth and its natural resources for future generations.

This year, World Earth Day is celebrated under the theme “Invest in our Planet” with the focus on engaging governments, institutions, businesses and citizens to do their part in protecting the environment.

Various stakeholders collaborated with the city and Pikitup to spruce up the streets of Hillbrow.

They cleared illegal dumping sites, swept streets and planted trees. They included the National Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dotted O Foundation, Clean City SA, SAPS Hillbrow, Ekhaya Environmental Group, Rand Clinic, Reef Hotel and Mzansi FM Radio.They all pledged their support for the city’s War on Waste campaign.  The inner city still grapples with challenges of illegal dumping and dirt and grime, which is detrimental to the environment.MMC Sekwaila said: “Communities are starting to see the value of a cleaner environment. Pikitup cannot ensure a cleaner Joburg without the assistance of the residents and local stakeholders.“Across Yeoville, major banks have left except Shoprite and Spar; what is left is informal business. We are at the risk of losing other major investors. Cleaning and keeping the city clean will bring back investors and help address unemployment among our youth. It is hoped in this way, meaningful investments will be made in the precinct,” said MMC Sekwaila.

The day started with a march by environmental ambassadors carrying placards highlighting messages on illegal dumping and littering while promoting recycling at the same time.

A recycling exhibition showcasing the value of waste was set up. Recycled products such as bales, handbags, car toys, mats made out of plastic, ear rings and art were demonstrated.

Thuli Gambushe from Dotted O Foundation, an environmental organisation in Ward 62, said: “The challenges of the inner city are substantial, however, we have volunteers who clean the streets religiously every weekend. However, the refuse is not collected by Pikitup and it ends up piling for days. Can Pikitup please ensure that waste is collected?”

“The local councillors have been very active and helpful and local business have donated brooms and other tools to ensure that the work continues. Nobody will clean Hillbrow more than the residents themselves,” Gambushe said.

​In joining the global society to mark World Earth Day, the City further assures its commitment to contributing towards collective global environmental protection efforts as well as securing the constitutional rights of citizens such as creating a healthy and safe environment for the well-being of citizens.

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