The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in the Eastern Cape has called on Nelson Mandela Bay Metro residents to spearhead efforts of preventing the pollution of freshwater resources by cleaning up streams, wetlands, canals and any freshwater source in bid to ensure water security in the Metro and throughout the province.
The call comes as the Department has kick-started its annual Clear Rivers campaign, a call to action for members of the public to play an active role in cleaning up water resources.
The campaign also aims to actively engage communities on the significance of protecting the health of rivers amid the declining water levels in the western side of the province, leading to unprecedented and serious water shortages in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
The Department’s spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said that the campaign aims to foster volunteerism among communities as a proactive approach to protecting water resources.
Initiated in 2016 by the Department together with business and civil society, the campaign coincides with Nelson Mandela Month which encourages individual acts of kindness aimed to make an imprint and change the world around them.
“South Africa is a water scarce country and seeing how the effects of drought are affecting residents in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, across the province and the country, it is a no brainer that we all have to take a stand against the pollution of our precious water resources,” Ratau said.
The Clear Rivers campaign is themed: “South Africa is a water scarce country, clean up and protect water resources” and will see a number of clean-ups lead by Minister Senzo Mchunu, Deputy Ministers David Mahlobo and Dikeledi Magadzi along with departmental officials in various parts of the country.
“The river clean-ups are not just be done for show. Of course, we are urging residents to dedicate their 67 minutes of goodwill activities by cleaning up on International Mandela Day, but of significance, is keeping them clean beyond Mandela Day,” said Ratau.
He said the benefits of healthy rivers also assist the country’s economy as different types of plants grow in and on the banks of rivers, with some of the plants providing communities with building materials such as roofing for huts and or houses.
Communities also use reeds and other wetland vegetation to make baskets, mats, curtain blinds and handbags, thus encouraging economic activity.
The Department has urged members of the public to report pollution of rivers and freshwater ecosystems to the DWS Hotline on 0800 200 200.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Department of Water and Sanitation, Republic of South Africa.