Rand Water not clear on microplastic water contamination

Image: 123RF/Andriy Popov

The impact of plastic contaminants on people’s health is still unknown.

This is according to the Rand Water Board which, on Thursday, responded to recent reports about microplastic contamination in drinking water around the Johannesburg and Tshwane areas in Gauteng. 

This follows the Water Research Commission's releasing of results of a study by the North West University revealing microplastic contamination in two of  Gauteng's big  cities' water system, on Wednesday.

Microplastics are plastic particles that are less than 5 mm in size and pose such a great risk to the environment.

Rand Water has said that knowledge on the phenomenon was still limited, while guidelines on water consumption to address the issue have not been developed.

“The health impact in respect to the presence of microplastics in tap water is thus unknown. We, however, welcome the results of the study undertaken by the North West University, which was funded by the Water Research Commission." they said.  

Yesterday, the  water department, which supplies  15 million residents from Gauteng and surrounding areas with water, said they had taken a proactive decision to investigate the issue further.

“Microplastic pollution is gaining momentum as a global environmental concern. We have been monitoring the global trends and the finding of microplastics in water. In this respect, we have proactively established an initiative to investigate microplastic contamination.

These studies will assist with the ongoing monitoring and management of microplastics in water bodies and drinking water.” they said.

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