A well-known environmentalist has launched a campaign in which he cleans the rivers and streams in Mpumalanga.
Jack Magongo launched his project last month at a time when the country grappled with the cholera outbreak that killed more than 25 people in Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
The outbreak was identified in Hammanskraal, Gauteng, earlier this year and spread to the neighbouring Mpumalanga and Free State.
It triggered a health crisis which saw hundreds of people being admitted to the Jubilee Hospital in Hammanskraal. Local residents have not had clean water for 16 years after the contamination of the Rooiwal Water Treatment Plant.
Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla later attributed the cholera outbreak in the area to a trip by Malawian national back home in February. Mpumalanga had its own cholera case last month after a 73-year-old died at Mmametlhake Hospital.
Magongo said they plan to rehabilitate river streams in Bushbuckridge, Mbombela and White River to help fight waterborne diseases.
“This project which will be rolled out until May next year is vital in this trying time when we are facing the cholera outbreak. The river stream and wetlands water are used by rural communities to bathe, drink, and wash clothes. Livestock also depends on the water for survival. They can easily contract waterborne diseases such as cholera. To mitigate the waterborne disease outbreak, it is essential that we deal with the dumping of waste into rivers and streams. In short, dirty rivers and streams could be the source of many diseases,” said Magongo.
He added: “We have started to rehabilitate the streams and rivers situated at Buyelani village in Bushbuckridge, and after that, we will move to Luphisi village near Nelspruit, and our last stop will be Spelanyane near White River. The project is very critical as you know that most of our rivers and streams are filthy and not usable.”
The environmentalist has thanked the Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment Management Agency (IUCMA) for funding his project, which employed 15 young people. He added that the project Is in line with the marine and ocean protection initiative and other related initiatives.
IUCMA’s Hasani Makhubele said: “The project aims to support the community groups that were voluntarily performing the river cleaning activities in the identified areas.
The Initiative has been welcomed by water analyst Victor Mashego. Mashego, who is a director for Mbolamed, a water analysing company based in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, has urged community members to refrain from using the rivers and streams as dumping sites.
“People’s behaviour contributes a lot when it comes to the issue of waterborne diseases. Instead of dumping diapers and garbage in the rivers, why don’t they dig a hole, put the things inside and cover them with the soil? Yes, it is true that at some point, our government is not doing enough when it comes to the supply of clean water, but we must also play our part by making sure that we don’t pollute the rivers and streams.” said Mashego.
Caption: Well-known environmentalist Jack Magongo and his team clean up the river in Buyelani village, Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga.
Caption: Water analyst Victor Mashego has commended the rivers and streams cleaning project that is taking place in Mpumalanga. Mashego also urged communities to stop using the rivers as dumping sites.