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Hennops River Restoration and Clean Up Campaign - Day 9

Hennops River Restoration Campaign Day 9 by Willem Snyman

Hennops River Restoration and Clean Up Campaign - Day 9

‘The last two sites of the campaign posed great challenges and serve to illuminate vast  problems, mirroring to the shortcomings of our society. Both deal with the issues around solid waste and informal recycling groups or Bagerezi (waste pickers) - the people pushing the trolleys laden with large bags of recyclables. They live and work from informal settlements, very often, situated on river banks due to the need for the washing of bottles and wetting of cardboard, as well as being free spaces, centrally located and easily occupied, hidden from the eye. Few attempts have been made to formalise their function. They play a vital role in the recycling of waste in our country.

At the first site on Wierda Road, the people had already been moved, leaving behind great piles of rubbish and a hill of thin plastics. One big problem is that recycling companies only buy certain items that vary according to demand. Recycling should be subsidised and entrepreneurial with new products all completely recyclable. The banks here are still strewn with rubbish and the river full of plastics. There are gigantic alien Australian thorn trees invading the river banks and wetland. During Paul Kruger’s time, post coaches stopped here. The area borders a nature reserve and  belongs to SADF. The old walking trail here, that stretches to Centurion, needs to be revived and the area restored as a bio-diversity corridor connecting nature reserves. On the second site, continuing from the previous day, we engaged more directly with the Bagerezi community and tackled their riverbank rubbish piles. A huge amount of trash was removed through a great effort by volunteers and the community. A dirty but satisfying job making their space clean and orderly to restore dignity.

Afterwards everyone enjoyed a hearty lunch. The community made a firm commitment to no longer use the river bank as a rubbish bin and were all given trash bags to use until a skip can be placed here. Tshwane is looking for a proper place to put the skips. The larger Bagerezi community of 90 thousand have a big role to play and should be integrated in a formal recycling plan. More effective-microbacteria was poured into Centurion Lake. Preparing for the River Spirit Day I joined a Muslim prayer service in front of a clear fountain. The interconnecting nature of clean water and spiritual traditions with water will be explored today with ceremonies and blessings to help heal the river and the water of our bodies.

All are welcome to help with spiritual healing of our rivers and water for the revival of our freshwater sources and cleansing our country's spirit - a holy campaign against pollution that will continue. Fruit and a vegetable potjie will be served at the Communal Tswaranang  River Spirit day from 10am to 4pm today the 28th at the Royal Elephant hotel. Please join us.’

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