Lee D’Eathe next to the tranquil Palmiet River.

A passionate Westville North Resident has initiated a River Watch programme to monitor and prevent pollution in the Palmiet River.

02 October 2013 | Mariclair Smit

WESTVILLE North resident, Lee D’Eathe, has initiated a Palmiet River Watch to monitor undesirable activities as well as pollution along the Palmiet River.

D’Eathe and his family have been living next to the Palmiet River for more than 34 years.

My kids grew up enjoying the river and the Palmiet Nature Reserve, so when I retired I decided that I wanted to do something to preserve the river, not only for my family, but also for the community, said D’Eathe.

D’Eathe started the Watch in April and has gradually built it up by recruiting local residents and businesses to the initiative.

He has also involved the municipal officials, and they have assisted him by drafting a map outlining all the industrial businesses, storm drains and other potential sources of pollution within the rivers catchment.

People do not realise that all of the water in the rivers catchment effects the river, for example, a bit of pollution that residents notice downstream could come from a factory or a storm drain many kilometres upstream, ‘said D’Eathe.

The idea behind the Watch is to have the community monitor the river. Once residents have noticed any pollution or undesirable activities they can report it to the Watch where the reports will be redirected to the relevant authorities.

The more eyes we have are monitoring the river and the more reports we receive the easier it will be to locate and eventually prevent pollution and undesirable activities, said D’Eathe.

According to D’Eathe prevention is a key aspect to the initiative, and he intends to include education in the initiatives as well.

The river has been abused and used as a drain, and I believe many people do not realise that it is an asset or how their actions are polluting the river, said D’Eathe.

Helen Cannon, an active Palmiet River Watch member who has lived next to the river for more than 18 years, also expressed her concerns regarding the rivers pollution.

We walk along the river almost every day, and on most days we notice foam on the water. We used to be able to spot river mongoose and eels along the river. We have also noticed that the amount of fish and crabs within the river have depleted. I am very passionate about the river and the pollution is very frustrating and heart-breaking, said Cannon.

“The Palmiet River Watch is a wonderful initiative. It will assist the municipality and the Department of Water Affairs protect river water quality. It is an experiment which we welcome. Increasing development presents greater challenges to protect the quality of our water resources,” said eThekwini Water and Sanitation Technical Services.

D’Eathe appealed to residents who are passionate about the Palmiet River and its conservation to join the Palmiet River Watch Initiative.

Contact Lee D’Eathe on 083 461 5964 or BusinessUnusualLee@gmail.com.