Monday, 8 October 2007

River pollution: I'm sick, are you?

Wooohooo! The sprint race at Hennops on Saturday morning was fabulous; great route, fabulous mountain biking and great fun running in the wonderful highveld rain. Tubing on the Hennops river was also great fun but the repercussions were not. My stomach has been liquid since Sunday lunch-time and at about 05h00 this morning I was able to hold water down for the first time in over 12-hours.

That said, I knew that the Hennops was pumping bacteria before I started the race. This article came out on IOL (online news website) on Wednesday. The article refers to the polluted river and borehole water. A local got the CSIR to test his borehole water in January. These were the results: "his borehole water had a faecal coliform count of 930 particles per 100ml, while the river had a count of 30 100 particles per 100ml. Faecal coliforms are the most commonly used bacterial indicator of faecal pollution and are found in water contaminated by human or animal faecal waste.Faecal coliform counts in water of anything above 10 particles per 100ml is likely to cause infection in humans if consumed. Livestock can tolerate up to 200 particles per 100ml."

I was very conscious of keeping my mouth closed while on the river, but some bad bugs did manage to make their way into my gastro-intestinal tract. I have not been so sick for many, many years. As Joburgers we were well aware of the risks; the same applies when paddling on the Klip River. I was thinking that it was just me because Lauren (my teammate on Saturday) was fine, as was Tim and his teammate Andrew. Jose called me this morning and said that he'd been affected as well as three others he'd spoken to when he was man-down on Sunday afternoon.

What is to be done? Joburg rivers are polluted; sewage, informal settlements... it all goes into the water. Knowing the state of the river I probably should have skipped the tubing section, running to the take-out? And perhaps the organisers should not have put us on the water?

Anyway, when all is said and done it was great fun on the river but you're not going to get me back on that water anytime soon.


Unknown said...

We were 4 friends who did the race, and as you say, was absolutely stunning! Except for the repurcussions! All 4 of us were sick by Sunday afternoon, Monday morning. And STILL feeling under the weather!

I wholeheartedly agree, if the organisers knew about this we shouldn't have been put to water. I am sure most people would understand that!

Ravilj said...

Hahah, yeah I am also sick but would do it again if I had the oppertunity. Its definitely not the first time I have got river gut and its most certainly not going to be the last time unfortunately. Dont get me wrong its not pleasant being sick but was so worth the fun.

Anonymous said...

The organisers seem to think the racers "expect" things like the river and the jump. It seems to me that they feel that by excluding the river/abseil/jump the racers would feel its not an "Adventure Race". Personally I would be quite happy to skip the tubing, abseiling and jumps if we could just have a nice uninterrupted race. :) Give us a little extra navigation section instead.

But this WAS the BEST tubing section I've been on in any of the races I've done!

Anonymous said...

yeah it was a super fun race but i realy don't know if i will go again if there is any water involved.
i have been sick the whole week, but things are looking beter today, unfortunatly not the same for my wife, who spent 2 nights in hospital!!
i think the organizers should give people the option too do the water sections or at least warn the people, cause i think it is really irresponsible too know of the dangers of the water and not make people aware of how severe it is.

hopefully we can get a comment from the organizers on this one, give their view on this!!!