HOW MUCH MORE CAN OUR ENVIRONMENT TAKE?
Burt Rodrigues, CEO of Biodx, says that water pollution is one of the areas surfacing as a ‘must change’ situation post Covid. He believes that many of the industries contributing to the outpouring of chemicals into South Africa’s water systems did not close during the lockdown. Since the worldwide shutdown, what has become apparent is that lowering consumerism has disproportionately improved the environmental status.
Industrialisation is of course essential to the achievement of economic growth, wealth and development but the harm to the environment inevitably follows. Company executives need to rethink the way they treat the environment in terms of cleaning the tons of effluent that flow out of their businesses into urban and rural water outlets and rivers. Rodrigues believes that if they are really serious, they need to take a closer look at profit versus the environment.
According to a recent joint report by UNISA’s Department of Environmental Science and the UFS’s Centre for Environment Management, rapid industrialisation is believed to be one of the main contributors to the pollution of environmental resources around the world, and South Africa is no exception. The safe disposal of effluents of contaminated wastewater into receiving water bodies is of great environmental and health concern.
The report goes on to highlight the increased concerns on the potential adverse effects of industrial wastewater laden with high content of toxic heavy metal pollutants such as cadmium, lead, chromium, mercury, faecal coliforms and pathogenic bacteria.
Industries have their own ponds where they collect dirty effluent, from where they can regulate the release into the environment according to existing laws. However, with the rainy season already showing signs of heavy storms with flooding, this will inevitably overwhelm the volume of effluent in the ponds, forcing industrialists to release uncontrolled amounts of water into the environment.
Will we ever learn?