Hennops Revival, an NPO dedicated to cleaning up and restoring the Hennops River in Pretoria. A group of volunteers spent their Women’s Day cleaning up the polluted river, collecting 501 bags of rubbish. Hennops Revival is taking the next step in cleaning up the river, with the implementation of a litter trap to capture some of the pollutants in Gauteng’s longest river.
Pretoria is currently in its dry season, which means that there has been no rain to discharge the waste with sludge forming on the banks and the river, giving off a foul odour.
There is hope that the new trash collection system will invoke change, with the system planned in three stages. The first stage is a trap for collecting larger items, the second for small and the final stage for collecting the fine items. They will follow up with bio-monitoring to see its influence on the water quality.
The new system will be implemented and updated according to a trial and error basis, to see what works best for collecting the waste. Tarryn Johnston, who founded Hennops Revival, says her team has cleaned up almost 1.3 million kg of rubbish from the Hennops river alone over the past few years.
The first pilot project on the river had to do with establishing wetlands such as with Vetiver grass, which plays the role of a filter, extracting toxins from the plants. The issue of pollution and the diminishing wetlands is something that is being exacerbated by the construction of housing.
Wetlands are being cleared for houses and the new homes add more sewage to an already over the compromised water system. Some images of the Hennops rivers showcase the foam castles sometimes occurring in the river. This is because of the high phosphate levels in the water.
These high phosphate levels are the result of detergents from households that flow into sewers, Because the Wastewater Treatment plants are so over capacitated, water is not properly treated and overflows into the Hennops water system.
There are arguments regarding who must take accountability for the pollution, but Hennops Revival is adamant that there is no time to blame anyone. If the pollution is not acted upon immediately, its value could be lost forever. Hennops Revival cultivates a community custodianship of the river, which is beginning to bear fruit for Gueteng’s longest river, which eventually reaches Hartebeespoort Dam via the Crocodile River.
Pictures: Hennops Revival