Tati River is now one of the dirtiest and most polluted rivers in the Limpopo River Basin – a victim of residents and businesses dumping waste in the river. These dumping actions are choking the river to death, experts decried.
Investigations carried out by The Patriot on Sunday have established that the river’s waters are now tainted – especially after passing through high density suburbs such as Monarch, Somerset and Bluetown. Wastewater contamination is so severe that a large percentage of the water in the river is urine and human excretes, according to an independent environmentalist based in Francistown, who requested anonymity. “This is my usual blunt assessment,” said the environmentalist, adding that an outbreak of waterborne diseases in Francistown are imminent bearing in mind that some residents are forced to use the water for laundry and drinking as economy is dwindling by each passing day.
Tati River cuts through Francistown’s high density suburbs from its source in the northeastern part of the country. It cuts through poverty stricken villages, moves close to the City of Francistown and snakes its way via Light industrial area in the country’s second city receiving waste on its way to Dikgatlhong Dam and finally Limpopo River.
In short, Tati River is dying. And its death has got dire consequences for the country’s second largest city as possibilities of waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhea breaking out in the city. “The waste in the river kills the aesthetics of the river, pollutes both the surface and underground water and has become a breeding ground for disease causing organisms,” said Department of Water Affairs (DWA)’s Regional Manager – North Galejewe Kago.
Kago made this observation when addressing a workshop in Francistown last Tuesday while deliberating on the challenges facing the Tati River and their implications on water quality. He said oil and chemicals from car washes and garages find their way into the river and eventually kill aquatic life. The workshop also learnt that organic material from pesticides and fertilizers are washed through the soil by rain into the river with an increase in nutrient load, there is rapid growth of new plants within the river channel. “Some parts of the river have been completely covered by aquatic weeds blocking the river channel and hence reducing the size and depth of the river. These blockages can lead to flooding during heavy rains,” he said.
Kago urged residents of Francistown to work with the DWA through the City of Francistown in conserving Tati River from dying.