RESTORING THE HENNOPS RIVER – The next clean-up is on Saturday 19 January, starting at 08:30 am, at the Riverview Park at the SuperSport bridge. All volunteers welcome!!!
Willem Snyman reports on the Hennops River trash issues.
“We are struggling with the same old problems but exploring new solutions for 2019. With the huge volumes of plastics and styrofoam clogging up and piling back at bridges, solutions must be found for plastic pollution.
“To augment the clean-ups we have been looking into installing litter traps along the river. To this end we met with the Tshwane MMC for Health, Sakkie du Plooy, and two talented engineers, Jean Labuschagne and Jonathan Krusekopf, as well as Mia Marsay of Over the Garden Wall cc. We decided to seek private funding and sponsorship for the traps. They need to be sustainable and cleaned regularly, and the plastics then recycled. “
It seems three separate waste traps will be needed, reckons Willem. Waste mostly spreads to the banks and is caught in vegetation where it is difficult to retrieve. “That should be prevented as far as possible.”
• One trap should be at the Red Barn on the Kaalspruit to catch the debris coming from informal settlements around Ivory Park.
• A second trap is needed at the bridge near SuperSport Park where the huge accumulation of trash can be seen.
• A third site should be below the sorting site on Wierda Road, where two clean-ups have already been done. “The Bagerezi waste-pickers using this site will have to be educated on proper waste management and prevention of their trash going downriver when it floods.”
“We will be submitting plans for litter traps and seeking approval from DWS as soon as possible.”
In the interim a large clean-up operation is planned for Saturday 19 January at the Riverview Park at the SuperSport bridge. This area is functioning well as a natural debris trap and the plan is to let the litter through under the large bridge in a controlled manner – possibly using a TLB from the top bridge and then catching it in a large net below, says Willem. “A truck with a crane on the smaller bridge just below can then lift the net out – it will be very heavy. This operation will have to be repeated a few times due to the high volume, while volunteers with smaller nets can catch the loose pieces.
“We can try similar interventions at the other bridges where trash is accumulating and the netting will serve as practical experiments for the eventual permanent litter traps.
“Government needs to look at legislation limiting single use packaging and consumers must help reduce waste. W desperately need to start separating at source and recycling our waste – before we drown ourselves and our environment in trash.”