PE faces massive ecological disaster

Growing outcry at health hazards caused by raw sewage spills into Swartkops River.

Port Elizabeth is facing a major ecological disaster, with collapsing sanitation infrastructure and thousands of litres of raw sewage flowing into the Swartkops River over the past three months.

Riverside communities are getting sick, rowing and sailing activities have been curtailed and an unbearable stench hangs over the area.

Last month, people were warned against eating fish from the badly polluted river.

According to environmentalists, 18 000 litres of raw sewage is spilling into the river weekly.

Desperate residents started an online petition at the weekend for the redesign and replacement of the sewerage infrastructure to bring it up to international standards.

Redhouse resident Frank Collier, who started the petition, said the constant sewage spills were turning the river into a “major ecological nightmare and a massive health hazard”.

Collier said last night he had collected nearly 300 signatures in just one day.

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- Estelle Ellis

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