Learners assist with the planting of the trees. The city says it intends to plant over 1000 more in celebration of arbor month. Photo: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The City of Ekurhuleni said on Monday that 400 marula and apple leaf trees had been planted in Etwatwa and Barcelona since the beginning of September to kick-start national arbor month. 

The planting was done in partnership with the Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development, and the national department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

The city said it had committed to embarking on a drive to plant 1600 trees during September in areas such as Alra Park, Duduza, Winnie Mandela in Tembisa, and Tokoza.

"Trees are a source of life. They provide us with oxygen and shade on a sunny day. Trees also serve as a shield during stormy seasons, and they prevent soil erosion. It is therefore very important for us to continue planting as many trees as possible and to educate each other about the significance of having trees in our environment," said Ekurhuleni’s head of department for environmental resources and waste management services, Faith Mabindisa.

"We call on members of the community to care for the trees, not to cut them down, and to nurture them."

Mabindisa said that on Friday, grade six learners from Silindokuhle Primary School and community members of Barcelona, in the Benoni area, joined hands with the government officials to plant the marula tree at the Barcelona multi-purpose park. 

The marula is the official tree for the 2019 arbor month celebrations.

"Arbor day celebrations seek to highlight the opportunity for sustainable environmental, social and economic development, community participation, poverty alleviation and job creation in forestry, thereby contributing towards growth, development and a better life for all," said Mabindisa.

- African New Agency (ANA); Editing by Desiree Erasmus