By Langa Bodlani MPL, DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Environment:
After the horrific incidence of sulphuric acid spillage into the Nylriver over the weekend, the DA has learnt that the District and Local municipalities involved, responded so poorly to this crisis that they endangered the lives of people in the area.
The Municipalities have still not issued formal warnings to all affected surrounding residents.
Up to this afternoon the areas of the river with the PH levels are between 3 and 5, have still not been isolated to stop people approaching the river. PH levels from 5 and below are highly acidic and could endanger anyone who uses the water or who is in contact with its water.
The river water feeds seven municipal bore holes used by farming communities in the area, which could now be contaminated and could destroy agricultural operations.
When an official from the municipality’s disaster centre was contacted on Saturday, his callous response on an sms seen by the DA was “what does the crisis have to do with me?”
The Fire Department compounded this crisis; after showing up at the scene 4 hours late, fire officials swept the highly corrosive mineral acid into the river.
This caused further damage and killed living species in the water.
After much DA pressure the District Municipality today committed to donating R50,000.00 for the much-needed 30 tons of lime to clean up the water. The rehabilitation of this river will be very costly and require experts such as geo-hydrologists to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment Studies.
The DA will monitor this situation until safety is restored and ensure that all officials who neglected their responsibilities are held accountable.