On the day before the DUCT River Walkers were due to arrive along the Lions River in Lidgetton, locals gathered at the Community Hall for a workshop on Water and Wetlands presented by Nkanyiso Ndlela. Balgowan Conservancy sponsored the event and Yvonne Thompson (Chair) delivered fruit and snacks.
Everyone was excited to join the workshop, chatting and laughing, and although some didn’t know what the workshop about, they decided to attend and find out.
Nkanyiso introducted himself, Balgowan Conservancy, DUCT and explained the purpose of the River Walk which took place along the uMngeni last year and was happening on the Lions right at the moment – to observe and monitor the negative impacts on our streams and wetlands. He did a presentation on the importance of protecting our water and wetlands and introduced the Catchment to Coast game.
Participants were divided into two groups to encourage them to work together and interact with one another. There was much excitement as cards were identified and passed along to build the picture. Everyone was encouraged to look carefully at each card and try to understand what was happening. The cards clearly show the beauty and the benefits of water and the impacts on our catchments.
Nkanyiso reports: After the game we spoke about the negative impact done by human beings and took the nearby stream and wetland as an example which they see every day. The wetland next to the stream is cultivated and possibly the farmer uses chemicals to grow the crops, so when it rains they are washed into the river. The stream is full of litter. I mentioned that we might have a huge problem in future if we don’t take action now.
The participants asked questions like “What should we do if the municipality does not collect litter?” I suggested that it is best to report to the local municipal offices in Howick. We discussed the importance of addressing water and wetland issues that we may not be aware of but will have a huge negative impact in our life.
Walking home afterwards, Volunteer of Lidgetton (VOL) member, Sithembile Duma overheard some of the kids chatting. “They were talking about the small river they passed and saying how dirty it was and how they would not drink for it. So it opened their eyes a little bit.”
The following morning the community were invited to meet the DUCT River Walk team for a Mini SASS activity. Thulani, Sitembile and their VOL friends are “Working to make Lidgetton a Better Place” and were very interested in learning more.
Penny Rees and Preven Chetty, met the group at the river where they shared their exciting journey and took a water sample. They explained clearly why they doing what they doing. We walked along the stream through the wetland till we reached the waterfall and we picked a nice rocky place to do a Mini SASS activity just above the water fall. The result showed that the river was very polluted.
Read Penny’s account of the walk through Lidgetton http://umngeniriverwalk.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/day-6-dont-count-your-fences-before-you-have-crossed-them/
Sithembile requested a workshop for the Volunteers so they could help to teach others, particularly the the youth, in Lidgetton about water issues. “These two activities were very interesting and useful” she said, “People don’t know how their pollution will kill animals and harm other people. We need to open their minds so they can be able to say ‘eish, what I am doing is wrong’. We need water more than anything else.”
Sitembile has offered to do regular water testing on the river through Lidgetton, to monitor changes in the river health.