Impose stringent penalties on water wasters

THERE is a call to conserve water and this is a noble initiative because water wastage and contamination appears to be the preserve of the irresponsible and selfish person. Water will always be a scarce commodity because of pollution, increased demands on fresh water supply, encroachment on water resources and wetlands. Our law does afford protection against these invasive conditions but as a public we need to be proactive in curbing abuse of our resources. Islam ascribes the most sacred qualities to water as a life-giving, sustaining and purifying resource sent as a gift to creation.

Access to water is a universal right in Islam, but no right is absolute - with it comes an equal and correlative duty or obligation and there is in our extravagant society a disdain to fulfil a responsibility in the face of a “right”. No right can prevail in the absence of the obligation to protect and safeguard the water resources which will continue to be strained.

The article by Nqobile Mtolo (Maritzburg Fever, 30 September) is apt in your recent print and a possible solution that will encourage the public would be to impose stringent penalties, curtail carte blanche access to use at will if that usage becomes reckless, to allow contamination of ground water and our rivers, dams and sea. While our law has created legislation to protect these resources, much more needs to be done by society and the state.

More dams are required, more responsible industrial action is needed, prevention of the release of raw sewer and mine water into our ground and rivers and stringent action is needed for those who act with disdain and reckless disregard.

Municipalities should become more active in maintaining infrastructure - in most municipalities the outdated crumbling water infrastructure is leading to loss and contamination.

It is refreshing to note that your paper has written an article highlighting this issue.

Rashid Patel Hayfields

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