ACTIVE members of the Palmiet River Watch have successfully helped officials to pinpoint sources of pollution and to reprimand guilty parties.
According to D’Eathe, the watch has received a lot of meaningful responses from the business and residential community, and the photographs sent on WhatsApp, the mobile messaging application, have helped the department of water and sanitation to determine what the pollutants are and to trace where they came from.
On-going severe pollution is being reported by the active members living in Harley Street along a small stream, which eventually washes into the Palmiet River.
“The reports from the residents have enabled the officials to catch and warn some of the polluting companies, and they are narrowing down their search to the Pinetown North Industrial area which includes Suffert Street, Mason Street Old Main Road, Oppenheimer Street, Schenk Road, Olivier Road,and Blair Road,” said D’Eathe.
According to residents in the area the stream has suffered major pollution for the last 16 years and on Sunday yet another pollutant drained into the small stream creating major foam.
“The foam was more than a meter tall at one point, and was blowing into residents’ yards. We suspect that the pollution on Sunday was a detergent that was discarded by one of the nearby companies” said Lee D’Eathe, who initiated the river watch.
Errol Hancke, a resident in Harley Road, said, ”
We have lived here for approximately 17 years. The pollution has been an on-going problem. We have had to endure all manner of foul and disgusting spells, and witnessed various colours of pollutants from red, yellow and blue. The smells have gotten so bad at times that we have had to close all of our windows. My wife and I, have reported the pollution to the health department, sewerage, as well as the pollution department. I must admit that they have responded to our complaints, and have come to take samples, but we as residents have never received any feed-back. Then the next week there is another pollution that we have to report.”
Hancke also reported that he was frustrated that there has been primarily a reactive rather than proactive approach to the pollution in the river in the past.
“The proactive and preventive approach of the Palmiet River Watch is one of the primary reasons for the department coming on board with the initiative. A lot of the pollution is not intentional. Residents and companies need to be educated on how to properly dispose of their waste, as well as the effects of their unintentional pollution,” said a water quality officer from the department of water and sanitation.
Besides reporting officially, Lee D’Eathe will follow up on pollution that are reported to him on 083 461 5964 in the Palmiet River catchment basin.