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Rundu residents are at risk of eating contaminated freshwater fish after it was discovered that some of them are fishing in and selling fish they caught from the sewerage water.

nbc News has learned that some of the residents have been catching fish in the sewerage water at the Kaisosi settlement.

For over five years now, the sewerage pond has been overflowing, especially during the rainy seasons.

Some residents go fishing in the early or late hours to avoid being detected.

On several occasions, the nbc News team tried to approach the said residents, but they always ran away after being caught in the illegal act.

The Public Relations Officer of the Rundu Town Council, Benjamin Makayi, says it is illegal to fish in sewerage water.

"As we are all aware, we have oxidation ponds around town, and this one is mainly where the human waste has to go, and it's not allowed for people to make use of this water either for bathing, swimming or even what they are doing, which is catching fish. When you look at this pond, it had a fence, but because of the people that we have, this fence was destroyed, and now it's an open pond that is open to everybody, where they go and catch fish and do whatever they want to do. It is an old pond that we are not using because we have created a new pond. Looking at what they are doing now, catching fish and bringing it to town to sell for their own use, it's illegal."

Makayi says the council's law enforcement officers have attempted to apprehend the culprits, but they failed.

He says this act will affect the street vendors who are selling fresh fish from the river.

Makayi also added that the council's attempts to block the sewerage water from flowing to the river also did not yield results because people who catch fish there always unblock the system for easy access to the fish.

"If you look at the pond itself, we have tried to close it so that water cannot pass, but the same people that are going there for fishing opened it so that fish can go together with water in order for them to catch fish early, and this is what is happening, so the water that is in the old pond, yes, sometimes if the machine has tripped or maybe it's not working, water might pass going to the old pond."

Makayi says the old pond will not dry up overnight due to rain, and it has become like a river.

The PRO calls on the people who are fishing in the sewerage water to refrain from such acts as they are putting other people's health at risk, and those who will be found will face the law.

He says the councils will make funds available in the next financial year to re-fence the oxidation pond.

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Author
Elizabeth Mwengo