News from the City: Project to clean up city rivers gets afloat

by | Oct 22, 2011 | Blog, Environment

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The Cape Times ran the following article on October 20 2011 at 11:35am

Project to clean up city rivers gets afloat

Babalo Ndenze

Metro Writer

THE city council has employed 400 people to clean 14 of its most polluted rivers as part of a programme named after the late ANC stalwart Kader Asmal.

Yesterday mayor Patricia de Lille announced the river cleaning programme in honour of Asmal, who first identified the need for such an initiative to ensure a clean water supply.

The announcement was attended by Asmal’s widow, Louise.

The river cleaning is to be part of the Mayor’s Special Job Creation Project, announced by De Lille last month. Read the full article City River Project

What do you think?

See FoL committee member Kevin Winter’s response below.

Kevin Winter responds:

The Editor

Cape Times

Dear Sir / Madam

Cleaning up the City’s rivers

The Friends of the Liesbeek welcomes the Mayor’s announcement to establish a river cleaning programme (Thursday 20 October). It’s about time! Citizens, whether living in the leafy suburbs or polluted canals in Khayalitsha, are desperate for a breath of fresh political will to address decades of abuse and neglect of the City’s waterways. This kind of programme deserves broad support. We want to see a host of ‘willing to work’ people safely removing years of accumulated litter and discarded junk that fills our rivers. A clean-up will definitely help, but it will also be an exercise in futility if the root cause of the problem is not addressed. The really hard nut to crack lies in water quality and quantity. Bad planning and ineffective management have altered our catchments and left rivers with flows that are putrid in summer and scary in winter. If the programme is to do credit to Kadar Asmal’s thinking and approach to water resource management, then it needs to address these difficult issues too.

Over the last 20 years the Friends of the Liesbeek have been trying to do exactly what this programme is proposing: cleaning, planting and improving the river, and much more. It therefore came as a surprise to us that the City intends to introduce a programme that even includes the Liesbeek. The consultation is missing, but hopefully not lost. We can show how our Maintenance Project involves a planned and supervised activity operating in a complex river environment, and includes efforts to contribute to the skills and capacity of the workers on the team. We hope that the initiative will strengthen our existing programme rather than compete against the good work that has been done over many years.

Kevin Winter

Friends of the Liesbeek

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