About 400 community members and various stakeholders last week descended on the Renoster River near Bergman and Khayelitsha communities in Bloemfontein to support the Clear Rivers Campaign organised to coincide with the Nelson Mandela Day.
The event was part of dedicating 67 minutes of goodwill during the Nelson Mandela Month and was led by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) together with its partners Bloemwater, Mangaung Metro Municipality, Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA), Coca Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA), South African National Defense Force and Government Communications and Information System (GCIS).
DWS provincial spokesperson Larry Crisp said in a statement, besides the cleaning exercise, the event was an opportunity to educate communities on the benefits of maintaining healthy rivers.
“There is a need for water security, particularly in the face of global climate change and a multitude of anthropogenic impacts affecting our rivers, wetlands and broader catchments,” read part of the statement.
According to the DWS, it is anticipated that following the awareness campaign, communities will have a better understanding of the importance of having clean river systems and thereby make an effort to keep their communities clean at all times.
“The awareness campaign was carried out to communicate a message that would have a lasting effect to communities. The message communicated was that the community should take responsibility of their resource – water.
“They were encouraged to become environmentally savvy and particularly keep their local streams free from pollution. The community was also encouraged to recycle their waste instead of dumping it. In this way, they would not only keep their environment clean but they would also earn cash,” added the statement.
The Clear Rivers Campaign will continue to run throughout the country for the duration of the month of July.