Northern Cape Tourism Authority board chairperson Collin Fortune has called on visitors, tourism industry players and government departments to join hands in taking on two major challenges for the province: alcohol abuse – particularly during pregnancy – and water saving.
He joined the Department of Trade and Industry, which has urged the liquor industry to take responsibility to help change the drinking culture in communities, in advocating the establishment of programmes to eradicate this scourge in communities.
Research has shown that South Africa has the highest reported occurrence of foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) in the world, and the Northern Cape is one of the hardest-hit provinces. Prevention programmes are under way in towns such as Kimberley, De Aar and Upington.
International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day is observed every year on 9 September. This year, the Department of Trade and Industry hosted an event in Kuruman, Northern Cape, to educate young people – and women of childbearing age in particular – about the harmful effects of alcohol abuse during pregnancy.
FAS can cause permanent damage to the unborn child, such as brain damage, impaired growth, and head and facial abnormalities, according to the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research.
“As we celebrate Tourism Month and Heritage Month in our province, and look forward to welcoming more visitors in the upcoming summer season, let us all become responsible citizens and protect children from alcohol abuse,” Mr Fortune said. He also called for messages to be shared on the harmful effects of alcohol during pregnancy and how these can affect the unborn baby.
Commenting on a very different threat to communities in the drought-stricken province, Mr Fortune also urged citizens, businesses and visitors to use water sparingly and reduce consumption.
Echoing the mantra that “water is life and sanitation is dignity”, he said if all cut down on using this precious resource, communities would cut costs and there would be more water available for other uses.
Visiting the Northern Cape? Here are some useful water-saving tips:
- Shower over a bucket and use the grey water you save to flush the toilet or to water the plants
- Keep your showers short, and don’t let the tap run when you wash your hands
- Only flush when necessary – or use grey water
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth
- Only use the washing machine or dishwasher for full loads