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Hope for rehabilitating Hennops River with the Department of Environmental Affairs by Willem Snyman

Updated: Jul 12, 2018

On June 22 FRESH.NGO met with representatives of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Dumisani Buthelesi, the Director of Waste Management, his colleague, Mariette, from the Federation for a  Sustainable Environment, and Thomas from Sustainable Community Development. The discussion focused around solutions to current pollution problems.

The first focus area was solid waste dumping next to the Kaalspruit, washing down from Ivory Park, with planned initiatives of recycling, education and proper disposal sites. The first step will be organising a cleanup day for the Hennops involving communities and businesses connected with the river.

To combat the severe sewage pollution, numerous green solutions were discussed that are permanent and economically viable. These include a bio-filter security moat for Sunderland Ridge Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW), wetlands at outlets for further treatment and removal of a wider range of toxins. Effective Micro-organisms (EM) will be utilised to make WWTW more efficient, breaking down sludge, as well as introducing it into sewerage pipes as pre-digestion, forming the basis to regenerate life in the river.

The aim is to make the whole Hennops a bio-diversity corridor and riverine reserve, to connect existing reserves at the top, middle and bottom. Here, a large wildlife sanctuary can be formed by expanding around the core of the new Crocodile River Reserve and becoming a nursery for endangered species in a historic area next to the Cradle, the birthplace of our kind.

We are very grateful that Environmental Affairs has become involved in these longstanding problems and with the rehabilitation of this prime fountain river. We hope that other connected parties like the Department of Water Affairs and the municipalities of Tshwane, Ekurheleni and Johannesburg will join forces to make the Hennops a symbol of hope for the resurrection of our freshwater environment and one of our greatest attractions in Gauteng.

All these efforts will aid in restoring the riverine environment and the habitats of endangered species still left, like these fresh footprints pictured below of a rare spotted neck otter still surviving in the Hennops.

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