Said to be the single most significant threat to South Africa’s environment, the threat of AMD contaminating the water table is present and immediate, according to a report by the Department of Water Affairs – meaning that is it happening now!
Additionally, AMD, which contains salts, uranium, cyanide and other heavy metals that pose a serious risk to human health, is overflowing out of the mines and into the surrounding rivers and dams.
What does this mean for South Africans living in affected areas?
Mike Jackson, a well known water scientist explains that the amount of AMD in South Africa’s drinking water is far higher than recommended by the World Health Organisation and indeed accepted in any other country of the world.
“What is being deemed as acceptable, as legally safe water, is not totally safe water. Much like buying chicken in the supermarket – you have a choice between battery hens laden with steroids and antibiotics, or you can choose a free-range hen that is free of all these toxins – they are both legally safe, but which one is more likely to harm your family in the long run?”
“Long term exposure to AMD in your drinking water will eventually damage your health. That is a fact,” says Jackson. A short term solution is to purchase bottled water but this is not a practical or sustainable solution as bottled water is expensive and the empty bottles end up on our landfill sites.”
According to Jackson, South Africans worried about the effects of AMD in their drinking water should invest in a water filtration system.
“Running a water filtration system in the home is akin to insurance against the effects of toxins and pollution in our drinking water. People seem to have an aversion to spending money on a water filter thinking that South Africa has some of the safest tap water in the world – this is sadly no longer true.”
Most people will remember the power outages experienced country wide several years ago as Eskom struggled with supply and demand. Around that time many South Africans rushed out and purchased generators – at an average cost of about R30 000 – that they probably have hardly, or never used.
Jackson advises that at a fraction of this cost you can invest in a water filtration system that you will use every day and that will protect you and your family from toxic pollution and contamination found in our water.
According to Tony Marchesini, director of H2O International South Africa, consumers must be savvy when it comes to purchasing a filtration system.
“It is not about rushing out and buying the first product that comes to hand. Water filters are not like microwaves that you can buy, take home and plug in and will do the job no matter where you live. Plus water scams abound and you can be seriously misled!”
“Take time, do your research, seek out experts in the field that can give you accurate and impartial information and ask the right questions,” says Marchesini. “After all – no one wants to play Russian roulette when it comes to their health and well-being.