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Bheki Dlamini
 
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My diet worries me: it could be radioactive

12 May 2014, 13:46
In any language, it’s phenomenal being referred to as the world’s first, biggest, most lucrative, richest. Yes, Merafong is home to two of the world’s richest mines, referred to as “cash cows” in a conference in Denver last year.
Well, cows seem to be somehow linked to these mines in more than one way. They roam the degraded landscape of Merafong, grazing the land and drinking the water that originates from the various canals leading from these mine.
You probably are thinking, “What does this have to do with a diet?”. The truth is the farmers sell these cows to various buyers across the country.
If beef is in your diet, according to a number of scientific reports freely available, thanks to the freedom of speech that we enjoy in this country, you could be consuming a lot more than just beef. Interested? Now read on.
Uranium contamination of the environment by the mines is not only a concern for the communities surrounding the mining operations. “Contaminated” water discharged from the mines in the West Rand flows through the Wonderfonteinspruit all the way to Potchefstroom.
Farmers along this stream depend on its waters for irrigating their crops. Cattle and other animals also drink from this same stream, absorbing whatever content there is and passing it onto the consumer.
Uranium is a dangerous substance and can lead to kidney failure, among other diseases.
This concern has been raised for many years now and the government seem to be dragging its feet in addressing it. Various environmental activists have, for years, been knocking on the doors of the regulators and tried to get them to address the matter in vain.
When a fatal accident occurs in the mining sector, you are likely to hear about it in the evening news and, in addition, a shaft or the whole mining operation is shut down until such time that an investigation is concluded and the site declared safe.
When it comes to the environmental matters however, very little is ever heard. I bet you didn’t know that uranium causes kidney failure. Did you know that it could be part of your diet?
The point that I am trying to raise is that “we are all affected parties” when it comes to mining, I am just hoping that we will now also become “interested parties” and thus hold the mining houses as well as the regulators accountable for the mine’s noncompliance with the various pieces of legislation. Unless we want to continue consuming this special beef.
We also need to ensure that the mines and the regulators are transparent in how they conduct their operations. The mines can’t be reporting that they are mining sustainably when they fail to account for their actions.
Or we can just ignore their actions and continue to live our lives like we are not affected. I am doing my part by sharing this information. So can you.
For a more scientific read, google “Wonderfonteinspruit”.
Thanks for reading. Till next time.To read all my other articles, click on my name just under my picture. 
For anything else, don’t hesitate to contact me on bsd@live.co.za. 
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