#WaterWatch

Less flushing in Cape Town could cause more disease-transmission, warns expert

Cape Town's drought crisis has left residents with no choice but to urgently adopt water-saving measures.

City officials have urged locals to limit showers to less that two minutes and only flush the toilet “when absolutely necessary”.

However, epidemiologist and community health expert Dr Jo Barnes says less flushing poses a risk for the City's sewage system.

She's also concerned that it could result in increased disease-transmission.

Dr Barnes explains that minimal household flushing can cause sedimentation, which will soon result in blocked pipes.

There is a risk.

Dr Jo Barnes, epidemiologist and senior lecturer in Community Health at the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Health Sciences

When you flush the toilet very infrequently, the ratio of solids to water is different.

Dr Jo Barnes, epidemiologist and senior lecturer in Community Health at the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Health Sciences

Fairly soon, some of the pipes will clog up and, in turn, cause sewage spillage.

Dr Jo Barnes, epidemiologist and senior lecturer in Community Health at the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Health Sciences

Dr Barnes adds that exposed human waste in the summer heat will attract flies and may leave locals more susceptible to diseases.

She advises that families use disinfectant solutions in their toilets, bathrooms and on household surfaces as frequently as possible.

Take a listen to her in-depth explanation:


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