When celebrating the International Water Week, as part of its attempts to cultivate and strengthen relations with immediate communities, the University decided to partner with Umlazi Township schools. Addressing learners from Velabahleke, Menzi, Vukuzakhe and Sishosonke; Thulisile Mtshengu, a lecturer in the Department of Environmental Health at MUT, highlighted the importance of water by quoting the decision taken by the United Nations on 28 July 2010, saying the human right to water and sanitation (HRWS) was recognised as a Human right by the United Nations General Assembly.
“The Department of Water Affairs in the country said we needed to have the whole week. In South Africa we focus on water pollution. We look at how we can use greywater as water is regarded as a scarce commodity that needs to be conserved. We ask these questions: How can we prevent water pollution? How is the water sampled? When the water has been tested, is it fit for human consumption? How can we change greywater to freshwater? We also look at water analysis,” said Mtshengu. The learners from the different schools were taken to the University’s Technology Station in Chemicals (TSC) where they were given a lecture on how the station deals with water from river streams.
The department also saw the meeting as an opportunity to talk about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 that has been declared a National Disaster. Dr Thobile Poswa, the Head of the Department of Environmental Health at MUT, appealed to learners to be change agents, and take all possible measures to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus. He asked learners to use masks, and gloves and sanitizers as often as possible. “Wash your hands with soap, throw away used masks. Be careful. We touch many surfaces, which might be contaminated. This is now our daily challenge. You need to be champions of this disease,” said Dr. Poswa. The students were also given certificates to encourage them to become ambassadors of COVID-19 and water conservationists in their areas.