Thursday, October 29, 2020

WUC grapples with indiscriminate dumping of used oil

The Corporate Communications Manager of Water Utilities Corporation (WUC), Matida Mmipi, has expressed concern at the indiscriminate dumping of oil and other hazardous substances into the sewerage reticulation system, saying it causes clogging and over spilling of waste into the environment. This comes after WUC recently experienced over spilling of waste in various locations around Gaborone, including Nkoyaphiri, White City and Old Naledi.

WUC recently siphoned over 28 000 liters of used oil from the Nkoyaphiri treatment center. The siphoned used oil filled over fourteen 200 liter drums. Mmipi revealed last week that the continued dumping of materials into the sewerage reticulation system is costing the corporation a lot of money.

“People throw everything into the reticulation system, causing clogging and eventual back flushing. This on its own is a health hazard because the waste ends up spilling into people’s homes,” she said.

After investigating the matter, WUC then roped in the Department of Waste Management in the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism. Mmipi revealed that it is the department that is empowered by law to charge those who will be found guilty of dumping oil into the sewerage reticulation system. WUC has rolled out a nationwide public campaign to sensitize people about the dangers of dumping materials into the sewerage reticulation system.

“We have realized that more needs to be done to educate people about the implications of vandalism and hazardous dumping of stuff into the sewage system,” said Mmipi.

In Fairgrounds, WUC also discovered tires crammed into the manholes in their reticulation network.
In the past, media reports revealed that fetuses and body parts were discovered in the national reticulation networks. Efforts to get a comment from the Department of Waste Management were futile at the time of going to press.

Used oil causes soil and water pollution. Such oil may enter the food chain harming wildlife and livestock. The high concentration of metal in used oil is also toxic.

“Some of the additives used in lubricants can also contaminate the environment. Other contaminants accumulate in oil during use such as fuel, coolant, water; wear metals, metal oxides and combustion products. One liter of used oil can pollute a million liters of fresh water. If disposed off in a water body or soil, waste oil can block oxygen from reaching micro-organisms that are supposed to decompose it into non hazardous compounds,” read the website of Tshole Trust.

According to the Waste Management Act, any person found guilty of dumping used oil shall be liable to a fine not exceeding P14, 000 and/or imprisonment for a maximum of 10 years.

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