Women roll up sleeves for river

2016-08-03 06:00
THE Setsoto Women Empowerment members hard at work cleaning the Caledon River during the Clear River Campaign.  Photo: Supplied

THE Setsoto Women Empowerment members hard at work cleaning the Caledon River during the Clear River Campaign. Photo: Supplied

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THE Setsoto Women Empowerment, consisting of 186 women, teamed up with the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in the Free State for the environmental initiative Clear River Campaign.

This group of women rolled-up their sleeves on Monday, 25 July, to participate in the campaign to clean the Caledon River.

The Clear River Campaign is part of the department’s Adopt a River Programme, which is ongoing in the Setsoto Local Municipality, which comprises the towns of Ficksburg, Clocolan and Senekal.

This group of women worked tirelessly to clean the Caledon River.

The Setsoto Women Empowerment supported the campaign, realising the importance of the quality of water that is consumed by their community, as well as the devastation through pollution of water.

The department is embarking on this Clear River Campaign as part of a continued drive to create awareness about the importance of a clean environment.

To intensify the campaign, the women were also trained in the Mini South African Scoring System, a test tool that is used to gather insects in rivers and thereby monitor and assess the health of the rivers.

When going to the river, the user of the test takes a score sheet with a list of small insects. They also need a net and a tray.

They then push the stones and loosen the ground in the river with their feet while holding the net to capture these small insects.

They then put them in a tray and check the score sheet. The availability or non-availability of certain macro invertebrates will tell if the river is healthy or polluted.

The method and tools are simple and may be used by communities, schools, non-governmental organisations and private individuals who are not trained in professional river health assessment techniques, but who are interested in their local environment.

The department has also partnered with Sparta Beef and Bloemwater in an effort to achieve its objective of pollution-free rivers and environmentally- savvy communities.

The need for water security calls for a national and unified approach to protect our rivers, wetlands and broader catchments.

It must be done in such a way that all people can benefit from the added-value products of healthy rivers and can have access to clean water for basic human needs.

It is for this reason that the department would like to connect South Africans to their sources of water and the natural infrastructure that are crucial for a water-secure future.

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