Olifants River polluted

2013-05-28 09:40
Polluted river. (Eugene Hoshiko, AP)

Polluted river. (Eugene Hoshiko, AP)

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Johannesburg - Contaminants in the catchment area of the Olifants River pose a serious risk to South Africa's food production, agricultural exports, and human health, Beeld reported on Tuesday.

Around 30 scientists from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch, the water affairs department, and the Mpumalanga Parks and Tourism Agency co-operated to produce the Upper Olifants River Study, the most comprehensive report to date on the catchment area and the Loskop Dam.

Project leader and CSIR aquatic scientist Dr Paul Oberholster found that the water in the Olifants River catchment area was so polluted that it held serious health risks for consumers.

The river had been polluted by, among others, sewage, acid mine water, industrial refuse, weed killer, and insecticides.

Researchers also focused on consumer health risks posed by different pathogens in the water.

Seven different pathogens were found in the water, including giardia, cryptosporium, salmonella, and norovirus.

The researchers also found that extremely high levels of faecal pollution in the river came from inadequate waste water treatment.

At some monitoring points in the river, situated near towns and settlements, the e.coli count was more that 1 000 units per millilitre of water.

The CSIR's study was initiated in 2009 at the insistence of the Olifants River Forum - a group of concerned individuals from the area.
Read more on:    csir  |  johannesburg  |  water  |  environment

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