Shothole Borer Beetle Update
I have organised a 2nd info walk for people who are interested in learning more about the Shothole Borer Beetle and seeing it in action in several species of trees. The last one was attended by 25 people, but our beetle expert didn’t turn up. However, Andrea from JUFA stepped in and was very helpful. Details are below.
Since my last newsletter (read it here), the COJ has released a press release spelling out what it is doing in trying to combat the effects of the devastating beetle that has infected and is killing our trees. You can read it below.
The City needs to know the extent of the problem and so is recommending that residents use WhatsApp to report infected trees. This info will then be plotted and collated so as to provide evidence of the magnitude of the problem, both for themselves to use as well as with Provincial and National authorities.
Logging Via WhatsApp
The CoJ is requesting the reporting of suspicious trees in Johannesburg to the Whatsapp number: 064 756 2736 by sending the following info:
- Drop a location pin where you find infected tree(s).
- Send photos of the infection on the trunk or branch, a close up pic of the holes and a pic of the tree (esp if you see branches that have started to die or have misformed and threadbare leaves on them).
2nd Shothole Borer ID & Info Walk: 4pm, Thur 20th Sep, Parkhurst
After the fully booked 1st walk, I have arranged a 2nd walk on Thur 20th September at 5pm in Parkhurst. We will meet at the cnr of 21st St and 2nd Ave for a talk and short walk to show you some examples of infestations in the street trees. Please RSVP to me on email@example.com as places are limited to 20 people.
City Taking Steps to Minimize the Impact of the Shot Hole Borer
Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) has been working tirelessly to investigate infections noted in street trees as well as in trees planted in parks and open spaces. The task team has engaged with a number of tree and insect specialists (academics, entomologists, and arborists) to consult on this particular alien invasive beetle known as the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB), named as such due to the effect it creates, which is similar to that of a shot gun having been fired into a tree.
The PSHB infestation is a national problem, and the current action plan is focused on gathering and analysing as much information as possible, as well as working in collaboration with the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) who are taking a lead in dealing with this issue – as well as other organisations and private institutions. This includes continuously identifying trees that are infected and researching a sustainable solution to dealing with this problem. In this regard, JCPZ through the City of Johannesburg joined the Cities4Forests Group – the World Resource Institute Forum dealing with urban forestry and related matters.
A workshop is being planned with several international and UN based organizations in a quest to develop a specific strategy for the City.
Key implementable action plans for which resources were acquired include:
- Removal of dead trees.
- Ensuring data on what killed the trees is accurate – this is to ensure cases of PSHB are accurately recorded.
- Proper disposal of these trees so that no further contamination happens.
- Engagement with PIKITUP on the volume of green waste that will be generated.
- Education and engagement with communities in the month of September and October in areas where trees are being planted for Arbor month.
- Risk profile compilation by the Stakeholder unit of JCPZ.
- Development of capacity within the City to manage the phenomenon through academic research and skills insourcing.
Scientifically based data is provided by agencies such as the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), various universities and the JCPZ team on the ground in mapping and plotting the areas where such infections are reported in public open spaces and street trees.
JCPZ has been approached by various stakeholders with possible chemical solutions. JCPZ can only engage in discussing these solutions if the products are legally registered for this purpose.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries published communication to inform stakeholders about the infestation. They stated that chemical control (injecting infested trees with fungicides and insecticides) may prove to be effective to control this tiny beetle and its fungus, but may be expensive.
They have also requested that plant materials showing similar symptoms, or infested trees, should be reported to the relevant authorities or alternatively cut down and chipped. JCPZ is engaging with Pikitup to establish designated sites. The selection is dependent on feasibility studies and available budget.
Councillor’s Corner: Where can residents collect the City’s issued clear bags for the purpose of recycling?
The Randburg Sun runs a regular feature called Councillor’s Corner. Below is my answer to the their latest question.
Ward 117 councillor, Tim Truluck answered:
Only a few suburbs are part of the Separation at Source scheme in Joburg and there are two schemes operating.
1) The first is at the Waterval depot serving areas such as Linden, Greenside, Victory Park and Melville. They use clear bags which are often dropped off by Pikitup or you can buy them from supermarkets.
The Pikitup depot collects these bags themselves. Note that the Waterval depot was affected by the illegal job seeker protests, so recycling collections have been put on the back burner until normal collections have been normalised.
Residents can either keep their bags inside until collection of recycling starts again or they can take it to a Pikitup garden site.
2) The new Blue Bag Separation at Source scheme was introduced in certain areas earlier this year.
In my ward, it is run in the Norwood depot collection area by a company called Dikala. The other depots that are part of this scheme are Lenasia and Midrand. They may use a different company to collect the bags.
Usually, they drop new bags at properties who put out blue recycling bags. But often houses are missed out. If you haven’t received a bag, then you can collect a couple of free ones from Parkhurst Hardware.
Other wards may have similar arrangements with shops or residents associations in their ward. You can also purchase clear bags from a supermarket.
If you live outside of these areas I would recommend residents use a commercial collection service in their area – they usually cost about R70 a month. These companies supply bags and you just put them out once a week for collection.
Drivers License Renewals Booking Now Online
From all accounts the new online booking form to renew drivers licenses is a great success and has really removed the schlepp out of the process. As an example, a resident on Facebook said: “Works like a bomb! Booked online. Went straight to the front of the line. Walked out 15 mins later. Separate processing and payment for online renewals. Super professional staff!”
Bookings can be done at online.natis.gov.za, while a separate page also enables customers to download the required application forms.
- Parkhurst Residents and Business Owners Assoc AGM on 11 Oct: It will be held at the MOTH Hall on cnr 16th St and 2nd Ave, Parkhurst at 6’30pm.
- Saxonwold and Parkwood Residents Assoc AGM on 16 Oct: Venue TBA, but usually it is held at the Military History Museum.
- Blood Drive at the Northern Suburbs Tennis Club in Blandford Rd, Parkwood on Sat 3 Nov from 9am to 1pm: This was started by one of the Parkwood residents and Ward Committee member. I now donate blood there and challenge you all to do the same. Tracy has also done wonders on upgrading the adjacent Fearnhead Park – it has one the highest old original slides in Jozi as well as witches hat and other heritage playground equipment. More Info: Tracy on 082-903-6142.
- 94.7 Cycle Race on Sun 18 Nov: Jan Smuts Ave will be closed from 5’30am to around 2pm. BE PREPARED. More info will be provided closer to the time.
Join The Ward 117 DA Branch
If you want to join the DA, it costs R10 a year, or, I would recommend you take out a 5 year membership of R50. Please contact my Branch Membership Secretary – Teigue Payne on 082-892-2218 / firstname.lastname@example.org. He will send the address where you can sign up and pay online. You can be from anywhere in Joburg as you will be allocated by Head Office to the Branch in your respective ward.
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