Public called to take part in Clear Rivers campaign

Thursday, July 7, 2022

As the country observes Mandela Month, the Department of Water and Sanitation has called on South Africans to take part in the Clear Rivers campaign to protect water resources.

The annual Clear Rivers campaign takes place in July as part of promoting volunteerism in the celebration of the iconic Statesman, former President Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July and Mandela Month.

Department spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said the Clear Rivers campaign calls on everyone to dedicate their 67 minutes of goodwill activities towards cleaning up streams, wetlands, dams, canals, and any freshwater source.

He said the campaign, observed under the theme 'South Africa is a water source country, clean up and protect our water resources', aims to actively engage communities, as well as promoting and creating an on-going awareness and education on protecting water resources among communities, municipalities, government departments and industries, including mining and agriculture, which are major sources of water pollution.

“This proactive approach is greatly encouraged to protecting rivers, streams, wetlands and other water ecosystems, given the drought that still persists in large parts of the country. Everyone is encouraged to participate in cleaning up the water ecosystems, on any day during Mandela Month,” Ratau said.

Ratau emphasised that during the campaign, people should bear witness to the value of clean water, especially for their healthy development, as rivers perform functions, including the ability to clean themselves when they are healthy.

“Active and responsible citizenry is encouraged across spectrum, where people from all walks of life become participants in promoting healthy rivers. The relationship between communities and healthy rivers can never be overstated, as it is community members who must take care of our rivers to ensure that they are not [filled] with filthy litter,” Ratau said.

He reiterated that the mandate of the department, as set out in the National Water Act of 1998 and Water Services Act of 1997, is to ensure that the country’s water resources are protected, managed, used, developed, conserved and controlled by regulating and supporting the delivery of effective water supply and sanitation.

“Due to human behaviours, most rivers and streams are experiencing a vast activity of river pollution such as illegal dumping of garbage such as papers, plastics, diapers, empty cans, animal skins and even chemical dumping that contaminate our water resources.”

Ratau encouraged members of the public to take a stand and create platforms, share concerns and respond to incidents of river pollution by cleaning their rivers, and report any irregular activities leading to water pollution to the department’s hotline on 0800 200 200.

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