Efforts to clean up island of waste in the Hennops River
By Sakhile Ndlazi 23m ago
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Pretoria – An island of waste products known as the “poly island” in the Hennops River in Centurion is full of waste due to the increased rain of the past week.
Waste range from plastic to bottles to paper and other items, but fortunately the Hennops Revival Organisation, along with other volunteers, have managed to remove about 330 bags from the island, of which 150 bags were just bottles and the remaining 180 bags of polystyrene.
Cigarette butts, paper, food wrappers, confections, tissue paper and napkins also topped the list.
The island forces the water to flow around it, causing flooding in the area during heavy rains. It is a big net that stretches over the river to collect waste and litter from the water as it passes through.
Hennops Revival Organisation founder Tarryn Johnston said the rain had a terrible effect on the trapping of illegally dumped items and the blockage of bridges and storm water drains.
“This year we have really tried to prevent certain high risk areas in Centurion from flooding. The rain makes it harder to now go into the water and do the clean-up like we do normally,” said Johnston.
“The rain has increased the water flow, making the poly-island very effective, as it catches a bunch of litter coming downstream.
“However, we will have to start cleaning it soon as it is getting very full, very quickly.”
She said they informed the City of
Tshwane of 12 blocked canals in the area and these were quickly attended to.
We are repeatedly told to tackle the problem at the source, but the problem in my opinion is the lack of dustbins around the city
“We are repeatedly told to tackle the problem at the source, but the problem in my opinion is the lack of dustbins around the city,” she said.
Johnson said experts warned the heap of litter may be bad for the communities in the long run.
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries said despite its significance to human life, the 2018 National Biodiversity Assessment found that wetlands were the most threatened of all South Africa’s ecosystems, with 79% facing extreme risk of being damaged.
This report emphasises the role of rivers, wetlands and their catchments as crucial ecological infrastructure for water security, often complementing built infrastructure.
“Major threats to these freshwater systems are noted over-extraction of water, pollution, invasive alien species, habitat loss, land-use change and climate change,” said Minister Barbara Creecy.