Msunduzi River in a filthy state

2010-01-04 00:00

WITH the Dusi Canoe Marathon now less than two weeks away, questions have been raised about the cleanliness of the Msunduzi River in some parts of the city.

One resident, who lives near the low-level Grimthorpe Road bridge in Lincoln Meade, said she is concerned about the filthy state of the water.

Speaking to The Witness on condition of anonymity, the resident said her children — who compete in the marathon every year — have been complaining about upset stomachs.

“It’s terrible. There are even people who fish there and the fish that they’re eating is full of this nonsense,” said the resident.

When The Witness paid a visit to the section of the river near the bridge yesterday, plastic bottles, logs, twigs, empty condom wrappers, shoes and a headless chicken were just some of the items found floating in the water.

Andrew Booth, manager of the Duzi-Umngeni Conservation Trust (Duct) that was initiated to co-ordinate projects with the aim of improving the water quality as well as conserving areas near the river, said the state of the water’s cleanliness is a huge problem throughout the city and it needs to be addressed.

He said Duct has been working towards improving the state of the water — as demonstrated by their numerous river clean-ups — but a lot more needs to be done to make this achievable.

He said Duct is more than willing to partner with the Msunduzi Municipality and the Water Affairs Department to work towards the goal of a clean river.

He said they have not received any recent reports of people falling sick due to paddling in the river, but usually after it rains the quality of the water tends to deteriorate.

“Those who paddle soon after are then likely to fall sick, but a few days later [the water quality is] not too bad,” he said.

Councillor Ithiel Ngubane, in whose ward the section of the river near the Grimthorpe Road bridge falls, said no one has complained as yet, but he is aware of the deplorable condition of this section of the river.

“It always happens after heavy downpours because the low-lying bridge is situated at the bottom end of the river.

“When it rains heavily, all the debris from upstream gets caught at the bottom,” he said.

Ngubane said this problem is not unique to Grimsthorpe as the low-level bridge in Sobantu has a similar problem after a heavy downpour.

He said there is a group in place whose job it is to clear the debris after heavy rains.

The problem will be attended to before the marathon starts, Ngubane promised.

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