GLOBAL - Reports of polluted rivers and fields are making headlines around the globe, despite concerted efforts to eliminate risk and safeguard farming environments.
The dangers of flooding and leaks are no secret to Randolph County residents in the US, where farmers are linking cattle mortality to exposure to raw sewage.
A Carolina cattle farmer and former Randolph County Commissioner lost three cows because of contaminated water this week.
Local press reported veterinary post-mortems as confirming smallholder suspicions, while far away in Africa, sewage leaks are saving lives.
Namibian cattle in the northern town of Rundu are benefiting from vandalism on the walls of a sewage dam during a desperate drought.
Ponds started filling with water after a broken sewage pump was reported to the Rundu Town Council, which has still not been replaced.
Desperate farmers are watching grass grow on adjacent flood plain areas as the sewage acts as a fertiliser. Cattle have been driven towards the lagoons and fed on the resultant pasture.
Rundu Town Council has issued warnings over poisoning cattle, despite farmers having few other options, New Era news reports.
Twenty Four hour security guards have been posted on the dam walls. Townspeople are advised that that further damage will result in punishment.
A solution, according to Rundu Council’s technical services manager John Sinime, is expected soon, when sewage will be pumped to a new dam two kilometres away.
He added that the problem will not persist for long as evaporation would soon leave the dam empty.
However, until the risk of sewage water subsides, the harmful effects of waste runoff are being spelled out to farmers.
Livestock and humans are at risk when heavy metals and pathogens accumulate in the soil, warned a Namibian crop scientist from Ongongo University.
“If people eat vegetables that were grown with untreated sewage water they may contract diseases associated with this water,” said Dr Cousins Gwanama.
“This goes for livestock that graze on grass contaminated by sewage water as well, since these animals may contract intestinal worms, which in the process will be transmitted to human beings once they eat the meat of the livestock.”
Similar problems were seen in north eastern India in February, when a bull died after drinking contaminated water from a polluted river Anjal.
A waste pipe leaked from the Laxmi Narayan College of Technology, Jharsuguda, choking the river, forcing residents to move away from the stench.
The Hindu Times reported biomedical and laboratory waste had entered the water course as the public called on the College to clean up it's act.
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