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Pollution a threat to precinct

  Friday, 05 February 2016
 Judi Davis (South Coast Herald)
Pollution a threat to precinct

The Vungu river.

"Care must be taken regarding the environment and the health and safety of residents."

Local environmentalist Pippa la Cock, who is in charge of the Alamein Precinct Plan environmental study, warned about dangerously high levels of contamination in some parts of the study area when she presented her environmental report at the project’s second public participation meeting.

Summarising her findings, she said the precinct plan boundary encapsulated two very different areas with very little connectivity, effectively separated by the R61 National road. The Vungu River formed a corridor for plants and animals through both sections. She warned that negative impacts like improperly treated effluent from the Uvongo waste water treatment plant and inadequate septic tanks would have negative impacts on Uvongo beach, a prime tourist attraction.

The 100-year flood line needed to be determined and development should be restricted by a buffer alongside streams and rivers. Due care needed to be taken regarding the environment and the health and safety of residents. The well established and sustainable nursery industry that used streams for irrigation and Masinenge shack dwellers who made household use of the water depended on good water quality, she said.

Because steep terrain and rocky outcrops had limited industrial activity remnants of two critically endangered ecosystems remained close to the study area. Ms la Cock pointed out that the good connectivity to the formal conservation area inside and outside the precinct offered opportunities to extend the conservation area although some split zoning of properties would be needed.

Poor waste, effluent and emission management was causing high, dangerous contamination levels in some parts of the precinct including Masinenge and the industrial areas on both sides of the R61. Though they often went unnoticed, noise and air pollutants needed to be assessed for future planning. Certain factors limited densification of the rustic area east of the R61, where residents were anxious to retain the sense of place.

Services like water supply and sewage were inadequate in the impoverished inland section although this should improve when the low cost housing was completed.

“Pollution and waste management need priority attention,” she said.

 

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