President Cyril Ramaphosa on a clean up campaign. Picture: GCIS/ Elmond Jiyane

East London - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday appealed to South Africans to adopt and cultivate a culture of cleanliness and to stop littering but to recycle waste.

"It's largely us adults who litter, and that must come to a stop. We must get children, our children to teach us to stop. Soon after I learnt my lesson, from my children, I stopped, and I pick up litter wherever I find it. My security detail often gets worried about me when they see me wanting to pick up litter in the street," said Ramaphosa at the East London International Convention Centre.

"That's the orientation that we must now have. We want to raise the level of consciousnesses amongst us, that we must want to live in a clean country. We must live in clean cities, a clean environment."

Ramaphosa said every time he visits Rwanda, he is always inspired by the cleanliness of the cities, particularly the capital Kigali.

Earlier, Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane led several activists on a clean-up campaign, picking up litter at the Eastern Beach, Ebuhlanti in East London.

Ramaphosa is scheduled to officially launch the national Good Green Deeds programme at the Sisa Dukashe stadium, in Mdantsane.

As Ramaphosa was leading the national launch, other provinces across South Africa were on Friday simultaneously hosting similar Good Green Deeds activities.

The Good Green Deeds programme is "a ground-breaking environmental awareness programme" that seeks to mobilise all sectors in South Africa to become more environmentally conscious. 

The programme tackles littering, illegal dumping, pollution and other harmful activities that have ill effects on the natural environment as well as the quality of life and health of communities.

The focus of the programme is to promote sustainable waste management practices such as recycling. It also aims to galvanise the society at large to change their behaviour around the environment and learn to prevent and reduce waste and pollution by cleaning South Africa.

African News Agency (ANA)