Estuary problems netted
A new cargo device stops rubbish along all the culverts
In an attempt to address the dire situation of waste spillage into the Knysna lagoon, Sanparks has teamed up with the Knysna Ratepayers' Association (KRA) to create a simple but effective waste capturing device that is installed at culverts and collects rubbish before it can pollute the estuary.
The device basically consists of a socklike cargo net that is tied over the mouth of the outlets and then allows water to flow through while simultaneously trapping plastic bags, bottles and other rubbish. It works particularly well after rains when water flow at culverts is significantly increased. Scott Ronaldson of Sanparks stated that for over two years the rubbish was collected by hand once it had already flowed into the estuary.
“Two teams of 22 people in total have been employed for the past four months to pick up litter. At least 190 people will be employed in February. This device will considerably increase the cleaning capacity of the area, and most importantly, it will collect waste at the source, before it gets to the estuary,” he says.
The idea was sparked over a cup of Seattle coffee between Ronaldson and KRA member Mark Williams. Williams said he had seen a similar concept in Australia and was impressed at how simple yet effective it was.
“We explored the practicality of such an idea, we took measurements and figured that this could really work. We just needed funding," said Williams.
But before collecting funds, they wanted to see the feasibility of the device, so Williams sponsored the R6 000 required to obtain such a net and make the required adjustments.
“With the assistance of the municipality, we installed this net three weeks ago and it's working incredibly well,” said Williams.
Ronaldson added that during last week's rains, at least four black bags of litter was captured along the particular culvert were the net has been installed. "Three of those bags were sent for recycling,” he said.
Sanparks stated that the net serves as a significant tool for the reduction of pollution entering the estuary and it has had talks with the municipality regarding the installation of the device at at least five other culverts in Knysna.
“The municipality has committed to rolling out this project to other culverts but no timeline has yet been given,” Ronaldson said.
Scott Ronaldson (Sanparks), Mark Williams (KRA) and Garden Route National Park manager Paddy Gordon at the culvert where a cargo net has been installed.