An unknown substance was dumped into the Palmiet river in the early hours of Friday morning.
13 March 2013 | Lloyd Mackenzie
The department of pollution and environment respond to the Palmiet’s pollution problem.
Senior manager for the pollution and environment department, Christopher Fennemore, said they were notified of the pollution at 6.45am on Friday morning and three staff members were on the scene at 7.30am.
“The source of the problem had stopped by the time our staff were notified and the residual effects were washing downstream. Therefore some detective work is now required because the source could not be located immediately. Samples were taken in an attempt to characterise the problem,” said Fennemore.
According to Fennemore the waste dumped was a surface active agent which is a component of detergent. He believes it would not take much detergent to do this to a river. The results will be released in a week and a survey will be undertaken to observe if there was any damage done to the wildlife.
“We do not know whether this was blatant or negligent dumping. In either case we take a very tough stance on such dumping and if a culprit is found regulatory action will be taken,” said Fennemore.
The usually clear and pristine Palmiet river was awash with volumous clouds of white bubbles on Friday morning, after it was badly polluted.
The Highway Mail was inundated with calls from concerned residents in the Westville area who were angry about the pollution. “If you look at the history of the river there used to be large amounts of wildlife that could be found in and around it, now they are no longer around, or greatly diminished. Rivers are the arteries of our world and we need to respect our Earth. When will people wake up?” questioned Jean Senogles, avid conservationist.
According to Senogles, on Friday afternoon the river started to cope with the pollution that had been dumped in it earlier that morning.
The name of the substance that was dumped in the river is not yet known or the effect the pollution will have on the plant and animal life around the river.
Questions were forwarded to the municipality but no comment has been received. Updates to follow.