ONGWEDIVA - The Ongwediva Town Council has warned the public against vandalising public property after an unknown person set fire to the town’s sewage ponds.
A large part of the reeds at the sewage dam have been destroyed in the fire. The fire started at 16h00 and lasted for about an hour, the council’s spokesperson Jackson Muma said.
Muma added council recorded 54 fires around the town since January. Eighteen of the fire incidences were recorded between August and September. Despite several pleas to the public not to enter the sewerage ponds, Muma said the public continue to access the ponds to catch fish and hunt birds.
He said other people also cut holes in the fence to graze their livestock in the ponds. “The challenge here is that the public continues to cut the fence in order to gain entrance to the ponds to catch fish and hunt birds,” said Muma.
Muma said council has over the years warned the public to desist from catching fish from the dam, but their plea falls on deaf ears. “We are still requesting the public to stay away from the sewage dam because the fish from there is toxic and is not fit for human consumption,” said Muma.
He said council will now continue to monitor the ponds even after hours in order to bring the culprits to book. He added the culprits continue to cause unnecessary expenses on the council budget, as the local authority from time to time repairs the broken fence.
Muma said the fence was just recently renovated, but it is already vandalised. He said council is looking into constructing a treatment plant so that the wastewater can be used for irrigation.
Ongwediva has been growing as a town and according to Muma, the existing sewage ponds may not be able to sustain it. Council is also busy adding other extensions that are being formalised to the sewerage system and thereby creating further pressure on the existing ponds.
He said although there has been no overflow of sewage water into the community, council faces a challenge during the rainy season. “But when it rains, we experience an overflow of sewage water into the community or when the community vandalise the walls of the ponds,” he said.