Mayday for Rivers Action 2013 – Champions

Liz Taylor compiled this report:

Well, I suppose we could take the month of May this year to represent a month in the life of a passionate River Champion. Much of the same, same happening but also some interesting situations to break the monotony.

Solid waste in the stream

We have had the regular spilling manholes with a particularly bad one at Enviro Champ Baba Cele’s house. It is right next to the uMthinzima Stream and is literally spilling thousands of litres of raw sewage into the stream and then on into Midmar. This situation has been going on for over  a month and although Baba Cele has reported it many times, there is no sign of anything being done.

Themba pointing to the problem

One of our other Enviro Champs Sthe Nkomo has organised a petition of over 50 signatures and handed it to the uMngeni Municipality to protest the lack of service delivery in terms of litter collection. His road has become completely blocked by illegal dumping (fly dumping) and now cars can no longer pass down the road. He is in discussions with the other Enviro champs to come up with some new ideas about litter and solid waste. ie A buy-back centre in Mpophomeni and designated dumping spots with a concrete base and a fence around.

Sthe Nkomo. Illegal dumping 7.5.2013

The highlight of the month was taking Mahomed Desai and Andrea Kolbe on a whole-day tour of what the Mpophomeni Sanitation Education Project is doing. Mahomed is an intern at Ground Truth in Hilton and is working on developing a GIS database for all water related issues. Andrea is a student visiting from Canada, she is a present studying for her Masters degree in Environmental Science at UKZN. We started our tour in Mpophmeni by visiting some of the Enviro Champs and hearing their stories.

Sewage entering the Mthunzima stream

We then made our way to Shiyabazali informal settlement to visit Zongile who takes water samples 3 times a day from the Howick Waste Water treatment Works outflow. She has been doing this every day for the past 2 years. This sampling is important as it gives us an indication of how the WWTW is coping with treating the sewage. We now have a set of data that can be used to give us a clearer picture of the capacity of this plant.

We ended the day with a visit to Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve to meet with Landi Msomi who manages the Shiyabazali project.


About Nikki Brighton

I live in Howick, between the river and the hills. I enjoy pre-dawn walks in the streets with my dog, sitting on the veranda with crochet and tea, and harvesting vegetables outside the kitchen door.
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