Sol Plaatje must turn streetlights on for festive season
|Burning sludge sparks health concerns|
by Delmaine Christians MP – DA Member of the NCOP
Date: 24 August 2020
Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbites in English & Afrikaans from Delmaine Christians, MP.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape is concerned that yet another fire at the Homevale Waste Water Treatment Plant in Kimberley is threatening the health of the residents of Homestead and its surrounds.
Numerous residents are complaining that their asthma and sinuses have flared up, with some even battling to breathe, given the putrid stench that is coming from the burning sewerage works. This is even more disturbing, given that preliminary research has found Covid-19 particles to be present in sewerage. This is alarming given the airborne nature of Covid-19 particles, and fears that particles may be further distributed by the smoke.
While the municipality claims that it is just the reeds that are burning, and that they have a plan by which to tackle the fire, an oversight inspection to the area by councillors Cliffie Lewis and Wesley van Rooyen, who accompanied Mayor Patrick Mabilo to the plant yesterday, proved that it is indeed the reeds, as well as the sludge, that is burning.
This is particularly worrisome, given that a number of sludge fires in the past have caused significant air pollution and distress to residents, for prolonged periods of time. In 2016, the sludge burnt continuously for weeks before the municipality managed to get the smoke under control and residents have in the past had to make alternative sleeping arrangements because of the severity of the smoke that is caused by sludge fires.
The DA is calling on executive mayor, Patrick Mabilo to be open with the residents of Kimberley so that necessary health precautions can be taken to protect the health of residents staying in close vicinity to the plant.
While the municipality battles to still the fire, they must also start to implement long term plans to prevent the recurrence of burning sludge in the future. It is, after all, no secret that the sewerage plant has been largely non-operational and that there is a dire lack of maintenance at the plant. This has undoubtedly aggravated the situation which, if tackled earlier on, may have been prevented from spiraling out of control.
Delmaine Christians MP
DA Member of the NCOP
Shelley de Witt