Umgeni Water ‘walks the walk’

2016-06-29 06:00
At the Baynespruit clean-up (from left) Cyril Gamede (Umgeni Water chief executive), Shami Harichunder (corporate stakeholder manager), Msizi Cele (operations general   manager) and Fiona Ellis (communications specialist). PHOTO: supplied

At the Baynespruit clean-up (from left) Cyril Gamede (Umgeni Water chief executive), Shami Harichunder (corporate stakeholder manager), Msizi Cele (operations general manager) and Fiona Ellis (communications specialist). PHOTO: supplied

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UMGENI Water management rolled up their sleeves and spent a day last week cleaning up the Baynespruit in Sobantu.

Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami­ Harichunder said the clean-up, led by chief executive Cyril Gamede, lasted most of the day and resulted in a huge pile of rubbish being removed from the Baynespruit and surrounds.

The rubbish heap was then removed by Msunduzi’s cleaning department.

Harichunder said it was decided during the clean-up that a spot along the river would be “adopted” by Umgeni Water for future care and maintenance.

Gamede said the project was a “reflection of Umgeni Water’s commitment to protect the environment and water resources”.

“The reality is what we have seen in Baynespruit today is a small part of a bigger problem.

“In South Africa, around 142 rivers are polluted to the extent that they pose a risk to public health.”

He said he hoped the clean-up and adoption of part of the river would encourage other businesses, organs of state and communities to nurture and protect the environment.

Gamede said the results of polluted rivers and streams — including water-borne diseases such as bilharzia, typhoid and cholera — were “horrendous”.

“Around 120 000 people became sick and 395 died during the cholera outbreak in KZN between 2000 and 2003,” he said.

Harichunder said some studies show Baynespruit is ranked among the most polluted rivers in the region, and among the top six most polluted rivers in South Africa.

“Interventions are urgent and imperative to rehabilitate and enhance water quality in Mgeni catchments,” he said.

Harichunder said Umgeni Water monitors river health by sampling the water at several spots to identify problem areas.

“The clean-up and adoption of a spot were the first steps towards encouraging and promoting better water quality and custodianship of the environment through education and awareness,” he said.

- Reporter.

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