The 22nd annual International Day of Action for Rivers was started in March 1997. It was founded by participants of the first International Meeting of People Affected by Dams, in Curitiba Brazil.
It celebrates dam removals and the rejuvenation of polluted rivers back to health. It promotes awareness about the multiple challenges and threats facing rivers worldwide as populations grow, and with that pollution and degradation of the environment. The aim is that we educate ourselves to find solutions and learn about water and alternative energy solutions, in order to save our rivers.
Sustainable and constant management of these vital water sources is essential for the survival of our environment. An example of severe contamination is our very own Vaal River which has been soiled by sewage flowing into it.
In August of last year Gauteng Regional head for the Department of Water and Sanitation Sibusiso Mthembu says the infrastructure was not coping: “There are a number of pump stations in that whole scheme that needs major refurbishment and these pump stations have bee neglected for a while.” The SANDF is now busy with a clean up, slated to take a year.
According to the Mail & Guardian, ‘raw or partially treated sewage flows into rivers throughout the country, turning dams green and killing people who drink the polluted water’, with ’50 000 litres of sewage flowing into SA’s rivers every second’. Sewage contamination causes hepatitis and cholera. Apart from humans, this kills birds, fish and frogs, as well affecting the animals that drink from it too.
Join up with residents from your neighbourhood to clean up rivers or streams running through your areas.