More pollution added to Pet Dam

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GK CRONJE

24 August 2021

In an environmental study released, MLM, amongst three other Mpumalanga municipalities, is explicitly fingered as a main culprit in the years-long pollution of the Vaal River.

Amidst Msukaligwa Local Municipality (MLM) approving new construction projects, building plans and residence extensions left and right, the environment, fauna and flora, as well as residents get the shortest end of the stick imaginable. Since circa 2014, the sewerage system in President Fouché Avenue and the surrounding wards have been on a downward spiral, with municipal managers from three iterations back’s promises still remaining unfulfilled. The impact on the wildlife and wetland animals, especially notable the Egrets that grace Ermelo, is a cause of great concern, as the spillage eventually flows down to the Pet Dam, leaving a trail of pollution and wildlife death in its wake. From the Pet Dam, which is already polluted beyond measure, the overflow ties in with the Klein Drinkwater stream, ultimately ending up in the Vaal River. In an environmental study released, MLM, amongst three other Mpumalanga municipalities, is explicitly fingered as a main culprit in the years-long pollution of the Vaal River.

Alas, to date no upgrades, nor action have been taken, with the situation being inexplicably worse than before. The frequent blockages and overflow of the sewerage line in President Fouché Avenue clearly indicates a larger problem factor with the network area, as residents near the President Fouché Avenue and Roberts Street intersection live in a near constant cloud of putridity, as the overflowing manholes in this section is a constant issue, with feaces, sanitary products, condoms and toilet paper being left to bake in the sun. The fields in this area is constantly drenched with sewage, and also holds serious health implications for residents and learners from the nearby schools. The issue of the pandemic further proves problematic, as MLM barks at residents to practice hygiene, but back at the ranch, they are the main culprits of unhygienic practices.

While MLM’s authority figures, as well as various ward councillors are well aware of the problems faced by residents, it would seem that little is being done to provide a permanent and viable solution. The Gert Sibande District Municipality had also been informed of the issue on several occasions, but claim to have no jurisdiction in the matter. The Democratic Alliance (DA) has noted that the party had sent a letter to the Premier of Mpumalanga, by the time response is received from provincial level, the damage will be immeasurable. You may view more photos and videos on our Facebook page, Tribune Ermelo.