Braamfontein Spruit Trust
Braamfontein Spruit- Environmental Concern
There are a number of problem areas that relate to the Braamfontein Spruit (and other rivers such as the Jukskei, Klein Jukskei, Modderfontein, Sandspruit etc). These include:-
Pollution, Erosion, Security, Vagrancy, Encroachment by developers, Alien plant invaders
The origins of the rivers of the Jukskei catchment area lie largely in the stormwater drains of the City of Johannesburg, hence the high pollution levels that exist in these rivers. When one thinks that this water eventually finds its way into Hartebeespoortdam, a source of tap-water for Gauteng it tend to make one think. Although much of this pollution is unavoidable and natural in a big city environment, there is much that can and need be done to minimize this. For instance it is much easier and cost effective to collect pollutants such as plastics and metal cans close to the source than to clean it up from river banks further down stream.
There are several areas along the spruit that are subject to serious erosion. Lack of sound environmental planning and the destruction of wetlands upstream can blamed in part for this destruction of the environment.
Although sometimes we tend to ignore the crime that is around us, it is a fact of our everyday life. We can help by regularly patrolling the paths and reporting problem areas to the authorities. By walking or biking in groups of no less than five, we also can lesson the risk involved.
Another area of concern, vagrancy places the vagrant at risk due to the high level of pollution in the river from which they depend on water to wash and sometimes drink. After heavy rains, the river floods very quickly, thus presenting a risk of drowning. The vagrant also adds to the pollution problem.
Encroachment by developers
Due to a number of reasons, developers have not stuck to original planning permissions, disregarded EIA's or have simply started with developments before the required planning permission has been granted.
Alien plant invaders
All along the spruit can be found examples of alien invaders that are taking over from the indigenous plants that would normally grace the area. Of note is the importance to control and remove the Spanish Reed to allow the indigenous reed Fragmites to once again have preeminence in the wetlands.
The Spruit is once again becoming recognized as an important amenity for recreation as well as a vital thoroughfare for those who need to get from A to B. Several African church groups use the Spruit for church services. Many birds and small mammals rely on the spruit as a haven and hub in their movement. Some of the specific uses:
· As an important thoroughfare
· Hiking, walking and running
· Mountain Biking
· African Church Services
· An important refuge for many birds and animals
BST Contact Information
Chairperson Tim Hartwright
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