NATIONAL NEWS - The Department of Water and Sanitation will conduct a virtual celebration of the Clear Rivers campaign.
The Clear Rivers Campaign is the department’s annual event, in which thousands of South Africans celebrate Mandela Month by cleaning the country’s rivers and other polluted water sources.
Every year in July, South Africa commemorates the birth of the late former President Nelson Mandela.
The world over celebrates the birthday of the former statesman on 18 July, which has been declared Nelson Mandela International Day.
The campaign aims to create on-going awareness and education on protecting South Africa’s water resources.
“Fostering volunteerism among communities is actively encouraged as part of this is proactive approach to protecting our rivers, streams, wetlands and other water ecosystems,” the department said in statement on Monday.
Due to lockdown rules that prohibit mass gatherings, the department has appealed to South Africans to mark the 30th anniversary of Mandela Month by keeping the rivers in their neighbourhoods clean.
“They should not litter or throw foreign objects into rivers that will impact negatively on the lives of downstream users. Rivers carry water and nutrients, and they play an important part in the water cycle. We use rivers for water supply, which we use for drinking in our homes, watering on farms, making products in factories and generating electricity,” said the department.
State of rivers
In September 2019, the department released a quarterly report, which painted a grim picture of South Africa’s rivers.
Known as the River Ecostatus Monitoring Programme (REMP), the report puts most of the country’s rivers in Category D/E of the generic description of ecological conditions.
The report stated that the resilience of river systems was often under severe stress and could be lost permanently if adverse impacts continued.
Research by the Water Research Commission also stated that river pollution is among the top five serious threats to the economy.
The research identifies factories and big businesses as major polluters of rivers and dams.
The department has called on all South Africans to be mindful of the pollution of water resources, including rivers, as this may also jeopardise government’s efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 at a time when 197 000 people have contracted the virus, which has claimed the lives of 3 199 people to date. – SAnews.gov.za