With the Vaal River being the largest tributary to the Orange River and the second longest river (1210 kilometers) in South Africa, it is challenging to get buy-in from the whole country to acknowledge their environmental responsibility. The Vaal River is a key water source for the country, supplying water to South Africa’s industrial heartland, including Johannesburg and Pretoria. It forms an integral part of the Vaal’s wonderland for bird life and fish. If we don’t keep it clean, we endanger our natural ecosystems.
In March 2012, the Department of Water Affairs’ spokesperson, Mandla Mathebula, confirmed that reports indicated that the Vaal River will be unfit for human consumption in 2014.
Pollution in the Vaal River is caused by a variety of sources, including waste water works, acid drainage from mines, locals emptying their trash into the river as if it is a dump yard and the lack of sanitation supplies.
Nelson Mandela once said: “We attach a great deal of importance to the question of the environment because until we do things which show how much we value the environment, we are not going to be able to have a healthy society in the world.”
How can we assist in preserving the Vaal River’s cleanliness to create a healthier local society in the Vaal Triangle?
- Government should take better care of the rural and under-developed populations.
- Rural populations should be educated on sanitation and clean water supplies.
- Local companies should join forces with organisations that have the same passion about environmental responsibility. (SAVE is a non-profit organisation which focuses on protecting and maintaining the environmental integrity of the Vaal River).
- Day visitors and tourists who visit the Vaal for water sport adventures should act in an environmentally responsible manner when it comes to plastic bottles, tin cans, etcetera.
- Mines and municipal waste water treatment works should maintain their waste systems on a regular basis.
The Riviera on Vaal Hotel & Country Club, as well as its sister company, Maccauvlei on Vaal, takes their responsibility to the environment very seriously and encourage you to join them in protecting the Vaal River from pollution.