This upcoming week is all about cleaning our environment and protecting the areas we have; the first official River Clean-Up Day is launching on the 15th of September 2021.
South Africa (10 September 2021) – There are so many South Africans that have taken a stand against pollution, jumping into action to save the natural world. Individuals and groups often set up river clean-up days and now they have a day dedicated to the goal – River Clean-Up Day.
National River Clean-up Day is designated for the 15th of September 2021.
Douw Steyn, Sustainability Director of Plastics|SA, explains that rivers and streams are an important part of South Africa’s water network. Unfortunately, they are often badly polluted by chemicals, sewage, plastics and other visible litter caused by drains and water channels leading from roads as well as communities living in close proximity to the river banks and where there is no waste management system in place.
“Rivers are the arteries that carry water and life to areas all around the world. Not only do they sustain life, they also play a very important part in the water cycle and act as drainage channels for surface water. Unfortunately, they additionally transport litter that has been carelessly discarded many kilometres upstream down to the sea and into the marine environment,” Douw explains.
South Africa has ten major rivers that cross the length and breadth of South Africa, namely the mighty Orange River in the Northern Cape/Free State), Limpopo River (Limpopo), Vaal River (Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Northern Cape), Tugela River (KwaZulu-Natal), Olifants River (Limpopo / Mpumalanga), Gamtoos River (Eastern Cape), Great Kei River (Western Cape), Komati River (Mpumalanga), Great Fish River (Eastern Cape) and Molopo River (North-West).
“River Clean-Up Day has been launched in response to the many enquiries we’ve received from members of
the public, municipalities and corporates who wanted to get involved in the International Coastal Clean-Up and World Clean-up Day, (Saturday, 18 September) but couldn’t because they are based inland and far away from the ocean. Now everybody can make a difference and help to keep our oceans healthy, regardless of where they live,” Steyn explains.
If you would like to get involved in a river clean-up, you can get more information from the organisations below. If you know of an organisation that is not listed, please let us know in the comment section and we will add it.
- Adopt-A-River (KZN) – Here
- Green Corridors (KZN) – Here
- Help Up (Western Cape) – Here
- ARMOUR (Action for Responsible Management of Our Rivers) (SA) – Here
- Hennops Revival (Gauteng) – Here
- Water for the Future (Gauteng) – Here
- Rebuild South Africa (SA) – Here
“We encourage communities around South Africa to get involved in River Clean-Up Day by removing litter from rivers, streams, canals and any inland water sources in their immediate area. By recycling the plastics that are removed, you not only protect the health of the rivers, you also keep plastics out of the ocean, support the efforts of waste pickers and help to grow the recycling industry. Every action, no matter how small, reduces the volume of plastic waste that reaches the ocean and ends up making a big difference to our environment and oceans,” Douw concludes.