As part of the Mahushe Shongwe facility upgrade project, the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency has contributed 120 non-motorised bicycles to the community of Nkomazi. In partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the MTPA has identified the use of non-motorised vehicles as a viable and environmentally friendly mode of transport for community members.
Reliable, sustainable and environmentally friendly - cycling was identified as a suitable pilot project of the NMT in efforts to support the Mahushe Shongwe Community Facility Upgrade project. As part of the regions upliftment and development programme, the intent is not isolated to generating job creation and employment opportunities but to supply the community with the necessary resources to support productivity, efficiency and job satisfaction. Supplying the community with a maintainable mode of transportation aims to benefit:
- Environmental efforts aimed at benefitting the reserve
- Convenience and accessibility to reliable transportation
- Health benefits
One hundred and twenty bicycles have been distributed, coupled with helmets and safety gear, reflector vests, a combination lock for security, a multi-toolkit for repairs and respective training sessions in support of the initiative.
Over and above the dispatch of bikes, participants of the project have received training in the following disciplines:
- Environmental awareness
- Occupational health and safety
- First aid
- SHE representative training
- Medical fitness tests
While the community has already begun to benefit from the Mahushe Shongwe Community Facility Upgrade project the areas is further expected to see various infrastructure upgrades at the nature reserve, along with a number of initiatives geared at job creation.
To follow see 5 reasons why we should all be using a bicycle to work:
1. Cost Saving
Given the current global economy, everything has become costly along with exorbitant petrol and diesel prices, biking to work can save on these expenses, significantly reducing the overall cost of the average household.
The upkeep and maintenance on a bicycle is pale in comparison to that of maintaining a vehicle. Consistent to the benefit of cost saving, cycling as a mode of transport offers a sustainable solution to these needs.
3. Environmental Benefits
The average cyclist releases a mere 0.7 grams of C02 per mile (1.6 km) compared to the average vehicle (about 1.2 pounds per mile). Cycling thus equates to a significant reduction of carbon emissions with a direct benefit on the environment.
4. Health and Fitness
Bicycling to work is said to burn the same amount of energy as road running (depending on the distance and speed). Starting and ending your day with a cycle to and from work offers a number of health and fitness benefits otherwise not accessed by a culture of convenience.
With an unreliable public transport system, poor road conditions and traffic congestion, cycling offers commuters the flexibility to access inaccessible and unpredictable routes that other modes of transport cannot cater for.
Following the measure of success of the pilot, given the distance and terrain between the residential homes of the participants and the nature reserve, plans to pilot a similar initiative in the Loskop Dam Nature Reserve in the Nkangala District may be on the cards for the near future.