River Pollution

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Introduction
Rivers are an integral part of our country, especially since we are a water-stressed country. The uMsunduze River is the main river in our Pietermaritzburg region. Many have said that the uMsunduze river is extremely polluted and this could have major problems for the environment in that area. One of the main sources of the pollution is the Darvil waste water treatment facility which cleans the water to river standards and then releases it back into the uMsunduze to be carried to Durban. This water has to meet a standard which is suitable for the river however; sometimes it does not meet these standards. Could this have a major effect on the river and the life that inhabit the river?
After doing work experience at Umgeni Waters
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Three small tributaries join the river upstream of the Darvil wastewater works. The poor water quality of the river is primarily due to the faecal contamination; however the quality of the river increases as the river passes through the city. Darvil often betters the quality of the river. Due to the eutrophic (rich in organic matter) and turbid water, the water quality is bad and therefore the natural flora and fauna have a poor habitat. There is a decline in the invertebrate population over a few kilometres which is an indicator of the impacts of the urban settlements. Only the stronger and toughest invertebrates live towards the lower regions of the river due to the magnitude of the pollution especially in the form of the organic matter. There is a good amount of fish in the area as the fish which are indigenous to the river are resistant to the pollution as it is a common occurrence. Sewers discharge their contents into the river which pollutes the river. This is due to urbanisation and a high population density. City street storm water can also reach the rivers, polluting it. the runoff in the cities is very extensive due to a smooth surface for the water to flow on. Factories discharge water, legally and illegally, into the river. At Camps Drift, the river is canalled and therefore the nature of the river has been altered, changing its natural makeup, increasing the velocity of the floe and reducing the river’s ability to recover. Shade from large aliens trees found on the banks of the rivers alters the habitats. The river transports the pollution from the industrial area and the domestic areas. It also carries the pollution from the three other tributaries. Recreational use of the river is threatened due to the bad condition of the river and its quality. Riparian vegetation (found between the land
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