“Blood river” poses a serious health and environmental hazard

Democratic Alliance statement by

Ismail Obaray, MPL:

“Blood river” poses a serious health and environmental hazard

The DA is deeply concerned about the river of blood and guts that is continuing to flow from Kimberley to the Kamfers dam.

This situation could result in another optimal breeding environment for botulism causing an outbreak that will wipe out the birdlife at Kamfers Dam and pose a serious health threat to residents in Kimberley.

It is unacceptable that pumps are reportedly out of order as just over a year ago hundreds of millions of rands were spent on the upgrade of the Homevale Treatment Works to improve the quality of sewage water flowing into the dam.

Research shows that the poison from the botulism is very dangerous to humankind and could result in many deaths of human beings who come in direct contact with the infected birds just from a small quantity.

Large numbers of flamingos are attracted to the wetland to feed due to the very high concentration of the flamingos’ food, blue-green algae, in the dam’s water.

During 2007 and 2008 Lesser Flamingos bred on a purpose-built island on Kamfers Dam, producing an estimated 9000 chicks.

Breeding continued for the next two years and during the 2008/9 breeding season 13 000 chicks were produced and in 2009/10 another 1

800 chicks were counted. Breeding on this island took place from October through to April.

Kamfers Dam’s flamingos have huge ecotourism and economic value for the city of Kimberley.

Many businesses use the flamingo in their logos, including the Sol Plaatje municipality, and people come from all over the country to see the birds.

The DA finds it completely disturbing that the department of Nature Conversation and Environment seems to distance itself from this situation despite it having the necessary capabilities to handle and investigate the length and breadth the damage from this spillage might pose.

The DA also calls on MEC Ms Tiny Chotelo and her department to intervene and take control and  implement corrective measures in order to avoid a possible outbreak that will not only affect the birdlife at the dam but the health of the residents of the city.

The illegal disposal of intestines and guts in the sewage system is against regulations and therefore we are calling for a full investigation and punitive measures to be taken to whoever is responsible.

We also calling for the naming and shaming of those perpetrators. The results of the investigation must be made available to the public and the names of the perpetrators be handed to the police for prosecution.