Residents spruce up wetlands

Some members of the Kuils River Wetlands Project.

Some Kuils River residents took it upon themselves to clean up their community including the polluted Kuils River wetlands on Saturday, March 30.

The Kuilove Wetlands Project, a community based initiative working to restore the green spaces in Kuils River, is a group of 18 residents from Grove and Bennie van der Merwe streets who want to make their community safer and cleaner.

Grove Street is also the location for the monthly “Kuila” street market.

Driven by the stench spewing from a broken sewage pipe, members of the project decided to take action, and their main objective is to clean up the polluted Kuils River, which older residents used as a play area back in the day.

Grove Street resident Bryony Mackay said he grew up in Grove Street and the Kuils River wetland played a major role in her childhood.

“We have lived here our whole lives. We remember a time before the river was a canal, when it flowed freely with natural spring water. During the day, we had boat races, fed the ducks and caught tadpoles. When night would fall, we would wait for the fireflies to come out and pretend that we were fairies. We’re cleaning up this space because we remember those days, and I want my children to have those memories too,” she said.

Kuilove Wetlands Project group member Kara Mackay said the clean-up was not only because of the “Kuila” market, which is held down the road, it was also about environmental activism. “As activists we want to be a centre of power so that we can speak on behalf of the river that is desperately polluted and cannot speak for itself,” she said.

Future plans include planting indigenous vegetation, establishing a jogging path and holding yoga classes and soccer matches. “We want to create a beautiful space where we can chill, together or alone, and not be afraid. A place where you watch your children play freely,” she said.

She encouraged more residents to join the cleaning initiative.

If you would like to be part of the project, contact Kara Mackay at 084 212 1200.