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A damning new report by a team of scientists from the Water Research Commission (WRC) documents sexual abnormalities in fish and mammals at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve, which supplies 27% of the Tshwane metro council’s water.
A Cape Times report notes that these toxic chemicals found in the Rietvlei Dam are thought to be the cause of sexual mutations among water creatures, and scientists have warned of long-term cancer risks they face.
The water also poses a similar threat to humans.
WRC CE Dhesigen Naidoo is quoted in the report as saying: ‘About 80% of aquatic pharmaceutical pollution comes from domestic medicines (those taken at home rather than in hospital), and while unused drugs that have been deliberately flushed down the toilet are a problem, the biggest source is excretion.’
The WRC is working together with pharmaceutical companies to find a solution to the problem.
AfriForum’s environmental affairs section said the R200 000 the Tshwane Metro had invested in the rehabilitation of the Hennops River would not be sufficient.
‘The continuous pollution of the watercourse is criminal. The government is the custodian and regulator of water resources, and it must protect our constitutional rights and ensure the health and safety of all the people and our environment,’ the report quotes head of environmental affairs Julius Kleynhans as saying.