‘Warn kids of canal water’

2017-05-09 06:00
Parents and caregivers must make their children aware of the health risks of canals and the water there, says a Lotus River resident.PHOTO: gary van dyk

Parents and caregivers must make their children aware of the health risks of canals and the water there, says a Lotus River resident.PHOTO: gary van dyk

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While water shortages are a major concern, a Grassy Park resident is worried that children are drinking unhealthy water from canals in the area.

Alrick le Roux from Lotus River says he sees children playing in the canals in the area. While this in itself is a danger to their health his biggest concern is if they drink the water in the canals.

“Are parents warning their children about the dangers of playing in this water?” he says. “I do my best to warn children when I see them playing in the filthy water but a few weeks ago I spotted some children playing ‘shop’ next to a canal and they were merrily filling bottles and drinking from it.

“They were a bit scared after I warned them and I told them to try and get to a doctor or clinic just to be safe.

“Parents or caregivers of children who live near such canals must make sure that their children know of the dangers of playing in such places.”

Sharifa Adams from Ottery is also concerned about children at risk when playing in these canals.

“I jokingly try to teach them that Afrikaans song about warning children not to play in the water because of what the old people do (‘Kinners moenie in die water speel nie, die oumense ... daarin’),” she says.

“Children are children and I know what it’s like when you live near a river or canal. It’s a place to play and I was also a child once, but times have changed – the rivers are not as clean as they used to be.

“You just look at all the illegal dumping that goes on and you know that it affects the water.

“It would be nice if the council has some kind of awareness programme in place for these areas.”

Eddie Andrews, Mayco member (South), echoes their warning, saying that the City of Cape Town advises residents to keep children away from canals.

“While the primary purpose of canals is to divert stormwater run-off, we do find that many end up as repositories for illegal dumping of garden and building waste, amongst other things,” he says.

“The water that flows through these canals is therefore unsafe for human contact as there is a risk of illness and disease.

“In addition, dumping and resultant water pollution attract pests and rodents which further increase the risk of disease.

“The City’s environmental health practitioners conduct hundreds of health promotion visits and awareness sessions at schools, crèches and in communities every year about personal hygiene and other environmental health-related matters.”

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