. . . WASCO pledges to control foul smell
MASERU – Residents of Ha Thetsane have renewed the long standing complaints about the discomfort and potential health hazard caused by staying close to Ratjomose sewage treatment plant.
Some of the residents who spoke to Public Eye this weeksaid the sewage led them to endure living in a contaminated environment for years now. One of them, Thabo Sello, said the stink of the sewer has turned their lives a living hell. “It is summer, but you cannot open a window for fresh air because of the persistent sewer stink,” said Sello.
“All contaminated air gushes into our houses, and it is difficult to eat and enjoy your food when the stink of the sewer pervades the whole area all the time.”
Sello said he started living at Ha Thetsane in early 2000s to work at the factories, but said the situation had not changed until today.
“I arrived here in early 2000s, coming from Thaba-Tseka because I got a job at one of the factories here so I needed a rental house very close to my workplace. When I first arrived here it seemed like a normal place, but a few days later I started noticing that there was that lingering unpleasant smell.”
Sello further said: “I am still not used to that smell and I am really not comfortable living in such state.”
Another resident, Rethabile Molaoli, said what made things even worse was that some of the dump trucks spill the effluent on their roads.
“We sometimes see the traces of that waste liquid dripping from the pipe of the dump truck and it smells really bad,” said Molaoli.
“This shows that the dump truck drivers are very careless.”
Molaoli added that their roads were destroyed because of too many heavy truck travelling in Ha Thetsane to and from sewage ponds every day.
’Malehlohonolo Melato said the sewer affected her social life with her family and friends.
“We cannot bring our families and friends over to visit us because this smell makes it so uncomfortable for us to sit outside,” said Melato.
“I wish WASCO (Water and Sewerage Company) could do something about this situation as soon as possible because this has been going on for years and it is really not healthy for people to inhale this contaminated air.”
WASCO acting Public Relations Officer, Rethabile Lefantsatsa, said they would try by all means to fix the situation.
“We will try by all means to fix the situation,” said Lefantsatsa.
“WASCO will have to sit down and discuss a way to reduce that smell. We will have to learn from other sewage treatment plants that are next to villages on how to prevent the smell in order to avoid conflicts between us and the community.”
Meanwhile, Lefantsatsa warned the residents whom he said were unlawfully occupying WASCO sites reserved for the development of dams that they would be removed.
“There are residents who unlawfully occupied the sites belonging to WASCO for the developments of dams, and such residents will be removed by law,” he said. The Ratjomose sewage treatment plant is the largest sewage plant in Lesotho, making use of conversional treatment technologies. The sources of the sewage are hospitals, schools, industries and homes around Maseru.
Waste water treatment is a very essential process that is critical in protecting the environment and public health by removing contaminants from waste water which reduces the risk of water pollution and spread of waterborne diseases. There are side effects that occur when inhaling sewage smell which include irritated eyes, breathing difficulties accompanied by nausea, dizziness and vomiting, amongst others.
In 2015, a 15-year-old girl and her brother drowned and died in a local sewage reservoir. The girl threw herself into the dam after quarrelling with her mother, while her brother drowned while trying to rescue her.