Sewage still flows into Duzi

2017-08-14 13:45
Sobantu township resident Busisiwe Mbokazi pointing at the landfill site and the pipe which is spilling sewage, leading to adverse living conditions for residents there.

Sobantu township resident Busisiwe Mbokazi pointing at the landfill site and the pipe which is spilling sewage, leading to adverse living conditions for residents there. (Ian Carbutt)

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The Sobantu community is alarmed by the infestation of mosquitoes there, coupled with the persistent and “unbearable” stench permeating the township.

They blame these health hazards on the landfill site and the Darvill water treatment plant, which are both situated just a stone’s throw away from the township.

The residents said although mosquitoes have always been problematic in the area, the recent increase in their numbers in mid-winter is unusual.

They added that the municipality’s delay in repairing a sewage spillage in Sobantu also adds to a string of other neglected service delivery issues.

The Witness reported on the sewage spill from the same pipe a month ago and according to the residents, it has not been repaired.

Although they have been bearing the brunt of these issues for many years, the community said they now need a permanent solution.

“Something needs to be done urgently,” said a member of the Sobantu Environmental Committee, Sibonelo Madonsela.

The community criticised Msunduzi Municipality for failing to act with urgency to either alleviate or eliminate what they believe is a potential health hazard facing them.

Duzi-uMngeni Conservation Trust pollution control officer Sanele Vilakazi said a permanent solution is unlikely at the moment.

Vilakazi could not confirm if the increase in the number of mosquitoes emanates from the landfill site, but said that any stagnant water could be the source of the mosquitoes.

He also said the sewage spillage into the Duzi river may also have exacerbated the problem.

“Sobantu residents are faced with adverse conditions which may potentially cause health problems.

“People who grew up in the township may have breathing problems because they have been inhaling polluted air for a long time,” Vilakazi said.

Responding to The Witness query on the matter, municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the municipality’s environmental health unit has not received any official complaint relating to the unusual stench experienced by Sobantu residents recently.

However, she announced that an extensive programme will be conducted by the vector control team to identify and treat all breeding sources of mosquitoes within the suburb and surrounding areas, including the adjacent landfill site.

“Darvill waste water treatment works are within close proximity and there is usually strong odour when there are mechanical failures at the facility.”

She said this was generally attributed to power outages resulting in excess sewage being pumped into storm dams. She added that the “offensive odour” permeates not only Sobantu but the northern suburbs and central districts.

“However, this is an infrequent occurrence,” she said.

Mafumbatha urged the Sobantu Environmental Committee to contact the environmental health unit at 033 392 2344/5 to discuss related matters and complaints.

However, the community committee disputed Mafumbatha’s claim that their matter was not officially reported, saying they have on numerous occasions met with officials from the environmental health unit but their engagements were futile.

“They told us that they will commission an investigation into the matter and thereafter compile a report. This has never happened.

“The last time I was due to meet with one of them [an official from the city’s environmental health unit] was on July 15, and she did not honour the meeting,” added Madonsela.

“Our parents grew up in these inhumane conditions, and now we are in the same situation.

“We can’t allow our children to suffer from the same problem,” he said.

The office of Sobantu councillor Sandile Dlamini, also confirmed that it has been inundated with calls from residents reporting the same problems.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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