5,000 signatures reached
To: Water & Sanitation eThekwini Municipality; Durban Mayor; Department of Water and Sanitation; Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation; South African Human Rights Commission
STOP the ECOCIDE of the uMbilo River
On behalf of: The Durban Greenpeace Volunteers, the Umbilo River Watch community group, and concerned citizens who have added their signatures
- Management plan of the river system with:
monthly water sampling at multiple locations (point sources) along the course of the river to determine exactly which industries are responsible for the pollution & contamination.
comprehensive test for all types of industrial effluents & sewage waste
- Management reports to be made public
- Implementation of the National Eutrophication Monitoring Programme which assesses trophic status, risks and trends of single impoundments, river reaches or canals.
- Implementation of the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan (NWSMP) in accordance to the action proposed by the NWSMP(1.4.8) to “identify and prosecute polluters across the country (including municipalities), with a national communication campaign to accompany the action inclusive of reviving the "Blue Scorpions" in dealing with river system transgressions
- Implementation of the River Eco-status Monitoring Programme (REMP)
- Monitor compliance with water-use licences
Why is this important?
The uMbilo River is a river system in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, located in eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality. The river rises in Kloof to the west of the city of Durban and the mouth of the river is situated in Durban harbour(1) (2).
Due to the ongoing uMbilo River pollution and frustration of the lack of appropriate response or results by the Municipality in addressing the river pollution issues the community members and residents galvanised to form the "Umbilo River Watch" group to monitor and report the river pollution incidents - sewerage leaks/spills in the Pinetown/Queensburgh area and chemicals being released into the river from around Westmead region(3)(4). The numerous reports that were compiled and submitted by the community and ward councillors to the relevant authorities, did not get adequate feedback nor the appropriate progress report on addressing the river pollution issues. The community members took it on themselves to take numerous samples from the river that was sent to the lab for water quality testing.
Since then the Durban Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, visited the uMbilo wastewater treatment plant and ordered city officials to fast track maintenance work in the plant (5) - effluent of which discharges into the river system (6). The uMbilo river system course and river tributaries flows through several communities and informal settlements of which the pollution of the river system has serious environmental and human health issues for community members. The river canals into the Durban port at Bayhead through Maydon Wharf, the site is listed as a Natural Heritage site a 20ha nature reserve of mangrove forest and coastal grassland within the industrial area of Durban Bay, South Africa. The reserve is a remnant of what was once the largest mangrove swamp in the province (7). Reports of the canal pollution have been reported (8).
The Durban Greenpeace Volunteers, the Umbilo River Watch community group, and the concerned citizens who have added their signatures.
*The Umbilo River Watch was set up under the Pinetown Conservancy (formerly uThekwane Conservancy) and has an active Whatsapp group whose members report on pollution in the river.
*Ecocide is the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished.
*The River Eco-status Monitoring Programme (REMP) evolved from the River Health Programme (RHP). The REMP replaced the RHP in 2016 and is a component of the National Aquatic Ecosystem Health Monitoring Programme (NAEHMP). http://www.dwa.gov.za/iwqs/rhp/default.aspx