Tons of litter pulled out of Hennops River
On Saturday, 71 volunteers pulled as many as 420 bags of waste from the river in Centurion.
All in all, about 13 tons of waste were bagged.
The clean-up was hosted in collaboration between Hennops Revival, The City of Tshwane and other concerned NGOs.
The river, one of the larger ones in Gauteng, is no stranger to pollution. Over the past decade, massive sewage pollution tides have turned the Hennops into one of the province’s dirtiest.
The heavy downpours last month aggravated the situation, bringing waste from source near Kempton Park as it flows through Tembisa to Centurion.
For seven hours volunteers braved the heat to clean up the river around the Hendrik Verwoerd Drive bridge. Volunteers pulled out soiled nappies, condoms, bags, beer crates and other solid waste - and found some dead duck and fish.
The clean-up campaign started in September last year and has been taking place every fortnight.
Clean-up organiser and Hennops Revival NPO director, Tarryn Johnston, said the aim was to restore the river by rehabilitating its spring water streams and wetlands from their permanent fountain sources, along perennial streams, to form a living river course again.
She said the condition of the river worsened following the recent floods which led to rubbish and untreated sewer water entering the Hennops River.
She said the recent rains also raised the water levels which meant more litter was flowing downstream.
The real challenge was how to tackle the problem at source.
One of the major factors identified was that informal settlements along the river do not have proper waste disposal facilities and use the river for this purpose.
Johnston said the City of Tshwane together with the City of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni will be working together in a trinity to deal with the problem.
The City of Tshwane promised the public and the business sector in Centurion that the rehabilitation of the Hennops River will be intensified this year.
MMC for Environment and Agriculture Management Dana Wannnenburg said the work to curb pollution in the river would be undertaken this year.
“The process is being managed through a task team which will continue to engage with all interested and affected parties during the course of the rehabilitation process,” said Wannnenburg.
“It has to be emphasised that the risk is ever present upstream beyond the capital city's municipal boundary, with multiple cases of overflowing sewers and partially treated effluent being discharged into the river and its tributaries.”
Previously, City spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said nearly R28.6million had been earmarked to rehabilitate the first phase - the stretch of the Hennops between the Gerhard Street bridge and Lenchen North Road bridge.