Farm union warns govt on water

2010-10-20 18:07

Pretoria - Government will carry the burden should farmers be forced to cease agricultural activities due to water pollution, agricultural union TAU-SA said on Wednesday.

Its deputy president Louis Meintjes said the government, which holds the exclusive constitutional custodianship of the country’s water resources, must implement effective measures to counter the pollution of water systems to avoid this.

Meintjies was reacting to reports which confirmed their concerns about contaminated food.

This was because production thereof was dependent on water containing poisonous heavy metals, chemicals and waste material.

"It is a well known fact that mines, industries, agriculture and municipalities make the biggest contribution to existing levels of pollution," he said.

Meintjies admitted that farmers were also responsible for pollution by "ill-informed" application of fertilisers and poisons.

This had in turn led to the establishment of an environmental management committee to advise farmers on good practices.

Meintjies said the union had raised concern about polluted water resources and the implications thereof on water security, but this had been ignored by, among others, the minister of water affairs.

"It fell on deaf ears," he said.