Pollution of the Duzi has been ongoing for years

2019-09-04 06:03

THE pollution of the Duzi River, and in particular its tributary flowing through the city’s industrial area, has been going on for years and very little happens to those businesses responsible.

Our country’s river systems are dying because of a dysfunctional and bankrupt Department of Water Affairs, evidenced by a reported 40 failing waste water treatment plants on the Vaal River system alone.

The army had to be called in to clean up the mess. Add to this the water pollution caused by mining in Mpumulanga and the country could be described as in crisis.

It is of great concern that Umgeni Water, the organisation responsible for providing purified water to a large percentage of the citizens of KZN, has allowed pollution in one form or another to continue unchecked. It needs to look at its own water treatment plants for examples.

Why hasn’t Umgeni Water addressed the pollution problems facing the various streams feeding into the Duzi system, as reported recently in the press on numerous occasions?

Is Umgeni actually concerned? It appears not.

Looking forward, we can expect the Msunduzi council to turn a blind eye as usual; the spokesperson for Umgeni Water to keep issuing press releases to the effect that Umgeni Water has ticked all the boxes and that its water is safe to drink; our local industries that pump toxic waste into our rivers to continue doing so because it is profitable, and the fish in the Duzi to continue to die in large numbers.

Maybe all those government bodies looking after our limited water resources should adopt the picture of the dead fish in the Duzi as their emblem because it accurately reflects where we are headed under their watch.

A.L. NORMAN

Howick

Shami Harichunder, corporate stakeholder manager at Umgeni Water, responds.

Umgeni Water’s splendid record of pollution prevention and management speaks for itself.

The organisation has various units dedicated to these functions. Some of these units’ activities include:

• regular monitoring of river water quality (including the Msunduzi River) through testing of samples in Umgeni Water’s laboratory;

• collaboration with communities and schools in the clean-up of rivers; and

• the monitoring of and partnerships in management of entire catchments that are the sources of Umgeni Water’s raw water supply

The above activities are vital to ensuring that the water Umgeni Water receives in its impoundments for later treatment is of reasonably good quality and free from major contaminants.

Importantly, Umgeni Water is a responsible corporate citizen, and this role includes preserving and protecting our fragile environment.

With respect to drinking water quality, the organisation sees it as its responsibility to reassure its customers (municipalities), when requested or proactively, that the water treated and supplied by it conforms consistently to rigorous standards of compliance authorities and is similarly fit for consumption.

Appropriately treated potable water is an enabler of good public health.

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