Air and water pollution in upmarket Nahoon
“We have gotten used to the smell of sewage in our home lingering in the air for the past two years. On days when it gets really bad, we close the door and windows and hope our clients know that we are inside,” told Sharon Peo of corner Main and Pearl Road in Nahoon Valley.
Peo owns a corner house that she uses as an Accounting office. She and her 21-year-old take evening walks down Pearl Road past the Nahoon sewerage pump station, close to the Nahoon River, which experiences tons of sewage spills.
“The smell is extreme, oh my God,” she exclaimed. “We are scared that we may get sick because the smell is constantly there, it gets better and then picks up again. It makes this beautiful neighbourhood a very unpleasant place to own a home in,” lamented Peo.
Last year, she claims, a team of engineers spent a week inspecting the area close to the river. They were inspecting the sewerage pipes to see if they can handle a new complex development coming to the area. Before they left, the engineers concluded that the pipes cannot handle additional flow from businesses or new residents.
“The sewage spills come from all angles. When the station is overflowing, you can see sewage infested water lying above ground. The river has a slimy green coat that smells rotten. We are ratepayers, we are not asking for much, just the maintenance of infrastructure so this town can remain beautiful with its majestic beaches,” pleaded Peo.
Thyme Fusion and Abbotsford Arms, two bars that are situated at the bottom of Nahoon Valley close to both the river and the pump station, served lunch to an empty bar, when Eastern Cape Rising Sun visited them last week.
The manager of the two establishments, Katherine van Zyl said the two eateries have gotten used to the smell. “Sometimes you forget its there, but you cannot afford that as we serve food and have an outside eating area,” she said.
Valentia Mboya (55) has been working for River Lodge, also at the corner of Pearl and Main Road, for 17 years and recalls the first time she smelt the sewage at her work place . “I was so embarrassed because we had guests. I only relaxed when I learnt that it was not coming from our premises,” she recounts.
A resident of Nompumelelo informal settlement, Mboya says when it rains, the pipes just below the settlement burst and sewage flows down to the car dealership on the corner of the N2 and into Abbotsford, leaving a choking smell in the air. “When I used to walk to work, I would trample all over sewage and when I get to work, I would have to wash my shoes and my legs. It is disgusting.” She claims that some of their guests come with the hope of fishing at the River, but they always advise against it and show them the river through the window.
The Nahoon Estuary Management Forum, a group of concerned Nahoon stakeholders are currently engaging the Municipality and the Department of Water and Sanitation on solutions for this crisis. In an earlier article BCMM claimed that spillages to the Nahoon Estuary are due to illegal electricity connections and old infrastructure.
“The underlying causes of the illegal connections are both criminal and socioeconomic, for which solutions are beyond the municipal responsibility,” said Samkelo Ngwenya, BCMM spokesperson. Buffalo City Municipality officials from different departments visited polluted areas of Nahoon River as a response to calls from the residents of Nahoon and surrounding areas.
The following were identified as possible solutions to stop the littering; 20 new rubbish bins needed (dedicated bin per braai area) and swing bins by the fishing hotspots.
BCM’s Jane Galo from Integrated Environmental Management and Sustainable Development said: “Now that we have visited the various sites and witnessed what the problems are, we will carry on with the implementation plan and have each department playing their part in the implementation process.