Cities and communities around the globe celebrated World Water Day in March. The central message of this year’s event was to save our planet’s natural resources and keep the environment clean amidst a growing population.
The theme of World Water Day encouraged people to take action against environmental threats, such as excess waste, unsustainable land practices, irresponsible mining and water pollution. There is currently an excessive amount of waste and plastic pollution in our waterways, rivers and oceans.
Therefore, it is the collective responsibility of every human to clean the environment and protect the planet from further environmental degradation. It is time to become responsible citizens and maintain sustainable waste practices such as recycling, reusing and reducing waste wherever possible.
Water resources need to be kept clean
The organisers of World Water Day are emploring all citizens and government to carefully manage water resources and keep them free from waste. South African dams, rivers and oceans are the major concerns for the Department of Environmental Affairs. However, our groundwater is also at risk from pollution and contamination.
South Africa’s tap water was once rated amongst the cleanest in the world. However, some municipalities have recently battled with groundwater contamination that cannot be chemically treated, such as plastic microbeads. Without clean water resources, society cannot function properly.
Waste pollution on land threatens food security
Researchers argue that 61% of South Africa’s land is degraded – either due to waste pollution or natural factors such as soil erosion. This means that food security is a major issue in South Africa’s future. Farmers and the agricultural industry will battle to keep up with the growing food demands of the population if we do not act soon.
A clean and healthy environment is key to a thriving society. Natural ecosystems that are free from waste and contaminants can actually self-purify and maintain themselves. Wetlands act as natural sponges that filter rainwater and provide a sustainable source of water for rivers and streams, even during droughts.
Researching environment rehabilitation costs
The Water Research Commission (WRC) is researching the costs of environmental rehabilitation. This information will help to support future policies and legislation, as well as communities.
The research suggests that rehabilitating a 125-hectare wetland will cost around R1.7 million. A wetland of this size can easily purify polluted water from a mine, which can save the mine R130 million in water purification costs. Businesses, therefore, need to invest in environmental rehabilitation and clean-ups.
These waste-eradicating efforts must be undertaken in partnership with local governments and citizens. It is everyone’s responsibility to maintain a healthy environment for the good of society. Waste and pollution is the leading threat to our environment in South Africa, but we can all make a difference by becoming more responsible with our litter.
Averda is a leading waste management provider with over 50 years of experience across three continents. Through growth, transformation and engagement, we strive to find new ways of managing waste while protecting the community and environment.
By pairing international expertise with local insights, we have secured our position as one of South Africa’s most respected providers of waste management and industrial cleaning services. We also operate in the recycling, pipe inspection, CCTV, infrastructure inspection, hydro-demolition, high-pressure water jetting and catalyst handling industries.
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