The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) called on citizens to clean water resources during July, coinciding with the annual Mandela Month campaign of dedicating 67 minutes to bringing about positive change in the community.
The vehicle for promting this action, the Clear Rivers Campaign of the DWS, is aimed at actively engaging communities and the private-public sector to promote ongoing awareness and education about protecting water resources.
The call to be all hands on deck is informed by the fact that communities, municipalities, government departments and industries such as mining and agriculture are not only major users of water, but also sources of water pollution.
“This proactive approach is greatly encouraged to protect rivers, streams, wetlands and other water ecosystems,” said Sputnik Ratau, national spokesperson for the department.
“Everyone is encouraged to participate in cleaning up water ecosystems on any day during Mandela Month.
“The department is calling on everyone to dedicate their 67 minutes of goodwill activities towards cleaning up streams, wetlands, dams, canals and any freshwater source.
“During this cleaning campaign, people should witness the value of clean water, especially for their healthy development, as rivers perform functions such as the ability to clean itself best when it is healthy,” said Ratau.
He said the department strived to encourage responsible citizenry across a spectrum, through which people from all walks of life could participate 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.
“Due to human behaviour, most rivers and streams become polluted through the illegal dumping of garbage such as papers, plastics, diapers, empty cans and animal skins, and it could even involve chemical dumping that contaminate our water resources.
“We encourage the public to take a stance and create platforms, share concerns and respond to incidences of river pollution as part of cleaning water resources,” said Ratau.
The public can report any irregular activities of water pollution to the DWS hotline on 0800-200-200.