Polluted river raises alarms

The Liesbeek River between Alma and Durban roads shows signs of white spots.

The Friends of the Liesbeek (FoL) are urging the community staying near the river to report any irregularities after two incidents left the water polluted.

Rosebank resident John Hammer said he had picked up the smell of petroleum in the water and was concerned about the wildlife which he use to see on his daily walks.

The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for water and waste, Xanthea Limberg said an old age home had been found discharging waste into the stormwater system.

This left a detergent smell and white spots on the water. “Their management claimed that they were not aware that this process was illegal and the pipe was redirected to a nearby sewer drain the following day,” she said.

The Tatler also noticed the smell of diesel when we visited the Liesbeek River on Wednesday May 22.

The City later traced this to a house where a boundary wall was being rebuilt after being damaged by a fallen tree. Ms Limberg says an old disused diesel tank had fallen over during the rebuilding process and a small amount of diesel was discharged into the stormwater system.

“Even though this may have been accidental, the perpetrator had been fined R3 000,” she said.

FoL project manager, Sabelo Memani said the community needs to take responsibility in managing their waste properly within a legal framework.

He said FoL works towards keeping the Liesbeek River and catchment areas clean.

They will continue engaging and inspiring the community to work and learn together so there can be a cleaner, and safer river.

FoL wants to continue engaging with schools, businesses and authorities to keep the river clean.

Ms Limberg has urged the public to report any incidents to 0860 103 089 as soon as possible.