71 volunteers pulled as many as 420 bags of waste from the Hennops River in Centurion this past weekend.
All in all, about 13 tons of waste were bagged during the clean-up initiative, which was hosted in collaboration between Hennops Revival, The City of Tshwane and other concerned NGOs.
The river, one of the larger ones in Gauteng, is no stranger to pollution. Over the past decade, massive sewage pollution tides have turned the Hennops into one of the province’s dirtiest.
The heavy downpours last month are said to have aggravated the situation, bringing waste from source near Kempton Park as it flows through Tembisa to Centurion.
Volunteers braved the heat for seven hours to clean up the river around the Hendrik Verwoerd Drive bridge. They pulled out soiled nappies, condoms, bags, beer crates and other solid waste.
The clean-up campaign started in September last year and has been taking place every fortnight.
Clean-up organiser and Hennops Revival NPO director, Tarryn Johnston told IOL that the aim was to restore the river by rehabilitating its spring water streams and wetlands from their permanent fountain sources, along perennial streams, to form a living river course again.
She said the recent rains also raised the water levels which meant more litter was flowing downstream. The challenge became, how to tackle the problem at source.
One of the major factors identified was that informal settlements along the river do not have proper waste disposal facilities and use the river for this purpose.
Johnston said the City of Tshwane together with the City of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni will be working together to resolve this problem.
The City of Tshwane promised the public and the business sector in Centurion that the rehabilitation of the Hennops River will be intensified this year.
Previously, City spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said nearly R28.6million had been earmarked to rehabilitate the first phase – the stretch of the Hennops between the Gerhard Street bridge and Lenchen North Road bridge.