Sewage leak a health hazard for Briardene residents

Briardene Informal Settlement resident, Bernard Mngadi, says a sewage leak coupled with rubbish which hasn't been collected in three weeks is causing a health hazard for residents.
Briardene Informal Settlement resident, Bernard Mngadi, says a sewage leak coupled with rubbish which hasn't been collected in three weeks is causing a health hazard for residents.

IT is the malodorous smell that hits you first, assaulting your senses; then you see a steady stream of raw sewage, with floating faeces and bits of toilet paper flowing down the road. Children play hopscotch metres from the waste water unaware of the danger of waterborne diseases. Sewage leaks in the Briardene Informal Settlement have become a daily challenge for residents, this particular leak has been flowing for more than 60 days.

In recent months, during heavy downpours, the sewage pipes clog up forcing the overflow into residents’ homes. Added to that, the constant stream has weakened the structure of one of the main roads in the settlement to a point where almost half of the road has been washed away. Residents fear if the leak isn’t contained, the road may collapse entirely.

Sewage also pours out of another leak at the settlement.

Sewage also pours out of another leak at the settlement.

Bernard Mngadi, who has been living in a Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) house at the settlement said the leaks are not only threatening residents’ health, but it is also destroying their dignity. He added, despite reporting the matter to City authorities, nothing has been done.

“I phone the City call centre almost twice a day, it’s not just a matter of reporting it, you have to wait for someone to answer and then they give you a reference number, but nothing gets done. We are helpless here because we cannot leave our homes, we have nowhere else to go. It’s unhealthy for my children and grandchildren and for others in the area,” he said.

“I really felt after 20 years, things would improve but they haven’t. It’s hard to carry out your daily tasks with the smell permeating everything you do. I feel people look down on us because we don’t pay rates and that’s why there is little or no action from those who need to help us.”

Briardene
Mngadi added he feared a structural collapse on the main road leading to his home.

“We have many elderly people living in this section of the settlement, how are we going to get them to hospital when there is such a massive hole in the road. Cars cannot come beyond this point, the road is washing away because the job wasn’t properly done and the waste water keeps weakening what little of the road there is. We haven’t had our refuse collected in three weeks and it’s because the garbage truck can’t drive down the road. Now we have a pile of garbage next to the waste water adding to the smell,” Mngadi said.

  AUTHOR
Shiraz Habbib
Journalist

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