By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Increasing problems are continuously threatening the existence of plants, animals and human beings in the southern town of Bethanie. These are the findings of an Environmental Education study research programme done by a Polytechnic of Namibia part-time student, Thimoteus Kativa, who resides in the town situated west of Keetmanshoop. “If these problems are not addressed as a matter of urgency, it will cause an environmental crisis at the town,” Kativa, who primarily focused on learners and out-of-school youth activities, states in his findings. His project catered for a clean-up campaign, an environmental workshop and a tree-planting programme. “The aims of my research were to promote better waste management and disposal among Bethanie residents to reduce waste and litter at the town. I also focused on development awareness, understanding and knowledge of the town’s environment and related issues,” he said. Some of the environmental challenges posed to the town include the fact that most people use riverbeds and the open veld in and around Bethanie for excretion purposes, threatening the ecological sustainability of the town. “Initially the research project was launched as a response to waste and litter as a single environmental issue to clean up the residential area, the business area and the town’s rivers. It turned out much bigger,” the student said of the project that was financed by the Bethanie Village Council to the tune of N$500. All the schools in the town were involved in the ongoing project, which is of significant importance to the town’s economic development potential. “Through the clean-up campaign participants have experienced what it takes to rehabilitate a polluted area. “At least those who took part it is believed would have developed a positive attitude toward the environment especially with regard to littering. “With regard to empowerment of the youth in order to achieve the country’s national development priorities it will not be achieved if the youth themselves don’t appreciate and commit themselves to efforts that are aimed at empowering them,” Kativa says in his final analysis of the situation in the town.