By Reneé Heine & Zamo Ngcobo
JOHANNESBURG, May 15– Young South African celebrities participating in the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) water awareness campaign have heard that sewage polluting a tributary of a river in Pietermaritzburg ends up in the drinking water meant for Durban residents.
They embarked on a hike from a Drakensberg catchment area to an urban area to experience the complex journey of water and to spread the message that water just doesn’t simply come from a tap.
The pollution of South Africa’s rivers is one of the main factors threatening the country’s scarce water resources. Such threats to water sources are what the World Wildlife Fund highlights with its Journey of Water campaign.
A case in point is the Ashdown tributary which feeds into the Msunduzi River which eventually feeds the Inanda Dam, Durban’s main water source.
However, the river has always had high pollution readings and requires river care teams to remove alien vegetation and waste from along its banks. Blocked sewers cause raw sewage to spill into the river.
Sithembiso Sangweni from the WWF’s Green Corridor Project speaks about the importance of caring for water resources, saying: “We can’t load-shed as we do with electricity so once a river is polluted, there is no way we can create water of another sort. If we can reach out and do projects like this I’m sure that things will go our way, slowly. ”
Amongst those participating is recording artiste ProVerb, who says that the walk was “not just an appearance or a PR thing but to say “what are you going you do with the information you just learnt?”. I, for one, certainly have a better appreciation of water.”
Along the way, the impact of human settlements, forestry and agriculture was pointed out.
Christine Colvin of the WWF explains: “In parts of KwaZulu-Natal (Province) there’s a drought at the moment and there’s simply not enough water. We know we are running out of water, we are already at the limits of using what we have. We want to grow our economy,we want to have more jobs, but we don’t have enough water to use so what we have to use water more wisely and efficiently.”
Teaching youngsters to recycle waste, which threatens water sources, is a start to secure the future of generations to come.