Friday, March 5, 2021

Gaborone’s poor drainage breeds sites for disease vectors

While Gaborone residents want more long-term solutions to regular issues caused by overflowing storm drains, some residents have expressed concern that stagnant pools of water could provide breeding sites for disease vectors.

Poorly drained stormwater is a fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes, thus heightening the risk of residents coming down with malaria.

In the past fortnight, Botswana experienced heavy rains which left most residential areas drenched, with some areas reporting destroyed bridges and roads as well as property destruction.

People who spoke to The Telegraph this week indicated that they were upset with the authorities as they believe the storm drains haven’t been maintained and this has become a perennial problem.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) responsible for international public health – removing stormwater is an important environmental health intervention for reducing disease. “In areas where drainage and sanitation are poor, water runs over the ground during rainstorms, picks up faeces and contaminates water sources. This contributes significantly to the spread of diseases such as typhoid and cholera, and may increase the likelihood of contracting worm infections from soil contaminated by faeces,” says WHO.

A hawker, Lorato Moeng, who is stationed at Rail Park expressed sadness over the fact that one side of the Rail Park mall was flooded and rains water could not recede fast enough, resulting in people being stuck in their cars due to waterlogged roads.

In one of the videos on her phone, some residents of Tlokweng could be seen trying to sweep the water out of their properties. “The council needs to regularly send people to maintain the drains. These days it seems the authorities are not bothered,” says Moeng.

“This is now a regular problem and the council really needs to sort this out. We can’t always be talking about the same issue year in and year out,” says Lorato Moeng.

Among other things, poor drainage can lead to flooding, resulting in property loss, and people may even be forced to move to escape floodwaters. Flooding may also damage water supply infrastructure and contaminate domestic water sources.

However, another resident of Mogoditshane said people need to also play their part because in some situations, they are responsible for blocking drainage systems through dumping of waste. “The recent incessant rains proved that if we had proper drainage systems, we could be harvesting the water,” says the resident who only wanted to be identified as Tlhalefo.

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