KAISOSI - The Rundu Town Council yesterday called in a grader to raze a horticulture garden on the basis that it was too close to the sewer pond and posed a health risk.
The garden’s produce, which included vegetables such as cabbages, onions and tomatoes were reportedly being sold on the streets of Rundu.
“We just came to realise that the illegal garden next to the sewer pond was still going ahead after council warned the owner and told him to stop the gardening earlier this year.
Council decided to bring in a grader to destroy it after the owner refused to continue with the illegal garden,” said town council spokesperson Benjamin Makayi.
“We want to destroy everything here, this man was warned earlier this year when we discovered the garden hidden at the back of the pond, and that time we also destroyed what was here but he revived it as council forgot to monitor the site and he came back again. No one is allowed to have a garden here, and the water that he is using is raw sewer water which is a health hazard. We don’t know where he is selling these vegetables that is why we have to destroy it,” Makayi added.
The sewer pond has no trace that it ever had a fence around it, some say it was fenced of during the 90s but the fence vanished with time.
Council made plans for this sewer pond to be closed of after they built a new one some years back, but have been experiencing constant breakdowns with the sewage lifter pump station, which is supposed to push the sewer water to the new pond.
“We had a fence in the past but we have built a new sewer pond south of the Trans-Caprivi Highway which is supposed to be used but when our sewer lifter pump station is damaged like now, it flows the water here instead of pumping it to the new sewage pond. The problem is we are struggling to get the parts to fix the pump station but we are working on fixing it,” Makayi said.
Research shows that using raw sewer water means a huge amount of nutrients for the crops, and the farmer does not need to pay for fertiliser but the water still carries all the pathogens harmful to the human body.
The health hazards associated with direct and indirect waste water use are of two kinds: The rural health and safety problem for those working on the land or living on or near the land where the water is being used, and the risk that contaminated products from the waste water irrigated area may subsequently infect humans or animals.
Research further shows that long-term irrigation with untreated industrial sewage effluents cause accumulation of high concentration of heavy metals in soil and subsequently in crops (especially leafy vegetables), which can be phytotoxic to plants and a health hazard to animals and humans.