Second report slams crippling neglect of water/sanitation systems

Chris Bateman


A second government-commissioned report has concluded that most of South Africa’s waste water treatment plants are either dysfunctional or non-functional with millions of litres of sewage illegally discharged daily into rivers by small-town municipalities.
The implications of the long-delayed Green Drop Report, read with the earlier Aurecon Report (risk assessment), for the fatal spread of water-borne diarrhoeal diseases, especially among rural children, are now undeniable.

The Green Drop Report was commissioned by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) to give municipalities a chance to apply for Green Drop status, an international measure of broadly acceptable minimum standards.

Just under half of the municipal sewage treatment plants (403 out of 852) had the capacity to even assess their facilities. The report’s authors found that municipal officials at these plants were either ‘not sufficiently confident in their levels of competence to be subjected to assessments’ or simply ‘failed to adhere’ to the call to be assessed. Of the remaining 449 plants, only 203 scored better than 50% against the set criteria with just 3.8% (32 plants), situated mainly in or around Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria, actually receiving Green Drop status.

Author's affiliations

Chris Bateman, HMPG

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diarrheal diseases, sanitation, sewage

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2010;100(6):342-344.

Article History

Date submitted: 2010-05-05
Date published: 2010-06-01

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