It’s only natural to assume that the water from your tap is perfectly safe to drink – but that simply couldn’t be further from the truth. Julius Kleynhans, Head of Environmental Affairs at Afriforum says that the way water is regulated in South Africa poses a threat to all its citizens.
Water shortages and crumbling infrastructure are destroying our water quality
The severe water shortage that South Africa currently faces, has led to more concentrated levels of water pollution. This makes the water harder to treat, and forces the Water Treatment Facilities to add higher levels of health-damaging chemicals during the sanitisation process.
What makes matters worse, is that our aging water treatment plants and infrastructure are not being properly maintained. It is estimated that 37% of South Africa’s Municipal water is wasted through leaking pipes and taps. These leaks also play havoc with the water quality during periods of “water shedding” when the temporarily empty pipes allow contaminated water from outside the pipes to seep back through the leaks, and into the drinking water.
Severe blue-green algae outbreak is a major health risk
A much-publicised 2015 study stated that South Africa has the highest known levels of blue-green algae concentration in the world, contaminating around two-thirds of our water sources. This cyanobacteria is of immediate concern as it is releasing several toxins that could pose a very significant health risk to humans – and the treatment plants are unable to effectively remove it. It tends to target the liver first, but can also affect the heart, kidneys, nervous system and male reproductive system.
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