By Willem Snyman FRESH.NGO
The pollution of the Hennops River is reaching allarming levels and increasing steadily, contributing to a growing crisis in the Limpopo River. It is two-fold with plastic solid waste as well as sewerage, both in staggering amounts.
On the 10th of April, I took Sheree Bega from the Saturday Star to the worst hotspots. At the ARC weir the foam levels had doubled going from man height to twice as high in seven days.
We had met there a week ago at a site meeting to discuss the installation of a litter trap to try and catch the huge amounts of plastics coming downriver. The shocking amounts will be seen at the cleanup this weekend - a still natural area with vast amounts of plastic debris caught up all along the banks.
Sewerage is the other massive problem, the outrageous amount of foam at the weir looked like a surreal apocalyptic creature swaying, with pieces whipped up by the wind.
We followed the foam trail a few kilometers up to Olifantsfontein WWTW and fought our way through a massive amount of weeds in the mielie fields.The farmers complained of the constant smell and one wonders about the health risks of edible crops grown here. There is also erosion and siltation from removing the riparian vegetation over a huge area.
The effluent from the WWTW was putrid and the area around it foam filled, clearly the source of the massive volumes foam and pollution, problems that have been dragging on for years while our environment suffers.
Lower down Sunderland Ridge Wwtw is still struggling with recurring cable theft. They had just been offline for eight days, when this morning only a day after it had been repaired the cables were stolen again. Its like sabotage, as only a few metres are dug out and cut from thick live cables. CCTV cameras and security needs to be installed in this vulnerable area outside the Plant. After these incidents it takes another 15 days for the micro-organisms to recover, while improperly treated sewerage goes straight into the Hennops.
In the Crocodile River Reserve where half the Hennops flows the degradation is terrible with this double dosage from both Wwtws.
A health hazard is created all along the river and into the Hartebeespoort Dam, Crocodile and Limpopo Rivers affecting millions of people's health through irrigated crops and drinking water.
A letter was written to the Minister of Water and Sanitation and we hope that something can be done soon to mitigate this crisis.
We'll be doing a cleanup this weekend and afterwards there will be a meeting to facilitate a Friends of the Hennops River group, please come and join us to help save our ailing river and its riparian environment.
Thanks Willem Snyman FRESH.NGO’