GEORGE NEWS - The deputy director of community services, Giel Goosen (65), retired last month after 30 years of service at the George Municipality.
Goosen is described as a "behind-the-scenes man" whose contribution changed the way the city manages waste. Municipal media liaison officer Athane Scholtz said Goosen was key to the introduction of the two-bag refuse system to George.
"He had overseen the opening, closing and rehabilitation of two refuse sites as well as the establishment of the George and Uniondale transfer stations, and guided a new generation of municipal staff towards waste reduction goals," she said.
For Goosen it was a privilege to be part of the whole process. "I haven't really thought of my contribution in that way before because I was just doing my job, but if I look back over 30 years, it is extraordinary that we could actually effect behavioural change. I think there is hope for the future to continue this trend," he said.
He was among a group of officials from municipalities across the region who visited recycling facilities in Germany, and he returned inspired to make a change.
"We knew it would be a slow process that would take decades and at the time it seemed almost impossible, but we were determined," he said.
He believes that ongoing awareness and related efforts could also turn the tide on illegal dumping, which has been one of the municipality's greatest challenges in recent years.
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