Johannesburg sits atop the world's most productive gold reef -- a staggering 40,000 tons of the precious metal has been mined from it during a history tracing back 130 years. That legacy of riches has left behind a toxic inheritance: radioactivity from uranium hauled up in the mining process.
Scientists have found uranium quantities in rivers west of the city to be as much as 4,000 times natural levels and in tap water as much as 20 times higher. A soil sample taken by Bloomberg News and tested by government-certified WaterLab Ltd. from pumpkin roots grown a little more than a mile from a recently closed gold mine contained five times more uranium than background levels considered normal by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The FSE is of the firm opinion that many persons and companies want to financially profit from the current situation. This is resulting in failure to holistically identify and manage the AMD impacts and challenges. The reason might partly be that the situation is a political problem as well.
"Among the many things that I learnt as president was the centrality of water in the social, political and economic affairs of the country, the continent and the world." These words were spoken by former president Nelson Mandela at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, 2002.
Despite its importance to development, human health, a thriving economy and a sustainable environment, the quality of South Africa's water is fast degrading. Already considered water stressed, the country is pegged to be water scarce by 2025. Naturally a semi-arid nation and the 30th driest country in the world, minimal water resources are being stretched by rising demands from an increasing population and growing industry, and further harmed by poor maintenance of human, agricultural, and industrial waste.