Hartbeespoort and its continuous sewage spills featured prominently in a Carte Blanche programme on Sunday.
Carte Blache investigated the possibility that Covid-19 hotspots may be identified through wastewater and also asked the question whether rundown municipal systems, like those in Madibeng, pose a risk of Covid-19 infection.
The Carte Blanche team was taken to Hartbeespoort’s major sewage spills in Schoemansville, Refentse and Birdwood by DA ward councillor, Erna Rossouw, where members of the public are daily exposed to the sewage pollution.
In Birdwood, sewage pushes up in showers and toilets, in Refentse residents have to build barricades to prevent sewage running into their homes, and in other areas, residents walk and drive through streams of sewage on a daily basis.
The programme looked at current research about using wastewater as a possible early warning signal of the disease and spoke to several scientists who are investigating the possibilities. According to research, the virus is found in faeces of patients diagnosed with Covid-19 and scientists say that information gathered from wastewater may indicate if Covid-19 is present in a community.
According to the scientists this can be a game changer for countries like South Africa that has limited testing capabilities. Through testing of the wastewater, it may be possible to track the movement of the virus even before outbreaks are picked up.
Watch the full video here: https://m-net.dstv.com/show/carte-blanche/videos/covid-19-in-wastewater-early-warning-of-infection/video