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As the country observes Mandela Month, the Department of Water and Sanitation has reiterated a call upon South Africans to take part in the Clear Rivers Campaign, to protect water resources and keep them pollution-free at all times.
The Clear Rivers Campaign takes place in the month of July as part of promoting volunteerism in the celebration of Mandela Day on 18 July and Mandela Month.
The department said active and responsible citizenry is encouraged across the spectrum, where people from all walks of life become participants in promoting healthy rivers.
“The need for water security, particularly in the face of global climate change, and a multitude of anthropogenic impacts affecting our rivers, calls for a unified national approach to protect our rivers, wetlands and broader catchments.
“The active and responsible citizenry is more than necessary to promote healthy rivers as the relationship between communities and healthy rivers can never be overstated, as it is community members who must take care and ensure our rivers are not filtered with litter,” the department said in a statement.
The department also highlighted the importance of protecting the entire environment to live in a safe and healthy world.
“Rivers and streams provide many socio-economic benefits for society. In some parts of the country, some rural communities still depend on rivers for their livelihoods. Clean and healthy rivers and streams provide communities with water for human consumption, cooking and washing.
“The watercourses also provide fish for food and water for agricultural products and livestock. The rivers and streams also provide recreational areas for communities. It is therefore critical to keep them clean and healthy at all times for our own sake and the sake of the environment,” the department said.
Former President and late Nelson Mandela once said: “We cannot afford to wait for others to stand up for our environment – as nobody stands to lose more than we do. It is our duty to be proactive in the battle to protect Africa’s natural. The right to a healthy environment is a crucial human right because it directly impacts our quality of life”.