The newly named Miss Earth South Africa 2013, Ashanti Mbanga, recently took possession of what she deems to be “the most brilliant part of [her] prize package,” a brand new Prius Hybrid vehicle from IMPERIAL Toyota. The relationship between IMPERIAL Toyota and the Miss Earth South Africa organisation is a long-standing one, with each of the winners for the past 6 years being supplied with the latest in hybrid vehicle technology, thus keeping them green on the roads as they travel to educational projects, greening initiatives, social and environmental conferences, workshops and events throughout the year of their reign.

The Miss Earth South Africa facilitates several environmental education programmes in schools across South Africa, tackling energy efficiency, water and waste management, as well as food security and the importance of maintaining green spaces. IMPERIAL Toyota have partnered on several of these initiatives, inspiring the South African youth to change their behaviours to ensure a better future for all. The vision and ethos of these two organisations are closely aligned, “We need to work with like-minded corporates that embrace the ideology of going green in every aspect of their business.” explained the Miss Earth South Africa Executive Director, Catherine Constantinides. Over and above the introduction of the Auris and Yaris hybrid models to the family, IMPERIAL Toyota have taken a number of steps to further reduce their carbon and resource footprint, installation solar panels at their head office, recycling of used motor oil, and the use of a grey water system in the carwash at their dealerships.

The beautifully branded Prius Hybrid currently being driven by SA’s green ambassador sports not only has a sunroof but a solar panel on the vehicle’s roof for optimisation of energy usage as well as to power certain LED lights and the air conditioner while the car is locked and awaiting your return. Being a Transport Economics Major at the University of Johannesburg, Mbanga has a deeper understanding than most into the complexities of the transport and logistics industries’ impact on the environment. One of her focus areas is to identify and help public transport modes become a more viable option for commuters especially with the conversations around e-tolling. She has also been announced as an EWT Ambassador during their 40 year celebration. This means she will be tackling and covering issues that address the effects of modes of transportation, such as the links between the aviation industry and bird strikes, the Gautrain and the problems they face with guinea fowl and other small animals being hit as a resu

lt of the train passing through certain reserves and wetland areas. Problems like this need to be addressed in conjunction with corporates like Gautrain and ACSA so that longterm solutions can be found for future projects.

Mbanga departs for South East Asia in early November to share her passion, views and environmental activism with the world as she competes for the coveted title of Miss Earth International 2013 at the 13th annual Miss Earth competition in Manila, Philippines. The theme for this year’s competition, Water Co-operation, was announced earlier this year and coincides with the offical UN theme for 2013. Ashanti will showcase the Miss Earth South Africa’s marine and water-focused projects at the international event over November and December.

For more on this story visit the website, www.missearthsa.co.za, follow Miss Earth South Africa on Twitter (@missearth_sa) or Like on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/missearthsa).

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