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Grootfontein Mayor Talitha Garises has warned parents to always ensure that they know the whereabouts of their children, as many are said to be flocking to the town's sewer ponds to swim.

Garises cautioned that the children risk contracting waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera from swimming in the ponds.

There have been cases of children drowning in sewer ponds, such as the recently reported incident at Otavi, where a nine-year-old boy died in a sewer pond.

In 2021 at Grootfontein, two children, aged 11 and 13, died at the unfenced-off ponds located between Blikkiesdorp and the military base at Grootfontein.

That same year, in September, a five-year-old girl also drowned in a sewer pond at Kalkfeld.

Such cases have prompted the Grootfontein Municipality's public health office to take random visits to the ponds in the town.

"These ponds here behind us are one of the big challenges. You know, in 2021, we lost two kids here in the big oxidation ponds on the other side. The water has been kept in these ponds here, the smaller ones, because Grootfontein receives a lot of rain, and this water is mixed up with the dirty water. The sewer water, and this is a line where the water is going to the big ponds. As you also know, I can repeat that part: we lost two kids, and we don't want to lose our children again in these ponds. Now it will be better for me to encourage the whole Grootfontein, especially Kap and Bou, Blikkiestown, and the residents around the town, to look after their kids so that they cannot come and swim here in the ponds, because it's very dangerous."
 
Asked why the ponds are not fenced off, Garises said it was due to a lack of funding. However, there is now money available to fence off the ponds.

"We received the money, N$1.5 million to work on these ponds, to clean the reeds and to clean the ponds, so the water can go through. The contractor is already on the place, they must just already come and start. That is what we are busy with, we resolved it already. Everything is mow in the hands of the contarctos.so that we can resolve this problem that we are facing because it is one of the biggest problems here in Grootfontein."

Plans are also underway to relocate the town's sewerage oxidation ponds once funds become available from the Urban and Rural Ministry.

 

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Faith Sankwasa