The Jukskei river flows alongside Victoria Yards, with one side bare of any plants and the other overgrown with alien species in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 8th February, 2021. Photo Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation/Kim Harrisberg

Environment South Africa12. March 2021

Two Women Create Jobs and Eco-Art to Save Polluted River

As part of their desire to tackle water pollution, two women are teaming up to restore one of the most polluted rivers in Johannesburg, South Africa, and hope that the model they create will be used to save other rivers in the country.

“We want to create a green corridor filled with safe water and eco-art that communicates with people,” says conservationist Romy Stander, co-founder alongside artist Hannelie Coetzee of the charity Water for the Future.

The project is not only raising environmental awareness while cleaning a polluted river, but it’s also creating jobs. In December 2020, the duo took the first step: removing invasive plants. Now, natural water filters will be built to protect the Jukskei, one of the city’s largest rivers. As part of Water for the Future’s quest to help urban rivers, the charity co-designed and built the “eco-tree seat”, a circular structure that serves as a gutter that goes around a tree to carry the rain to the roots, and as a bench where people can sit. The eco-tree seat is one of the solutions the women plan on developing to improve sustainable drainage and to manage water flow into urban rivers.

Thomson Reuters Foundation

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