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  • Family and friends of a Covid-19 victim carry his coffin, Cape Town, South Africa. May 13, 2020.

    Family and friends of a Covid-19 victim carry his coffin, Cape Town, South Africa. May 13, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/@tameryazar

Published 15 May 2020
Opinion

Due to makeshift cemeteries, bacteria and the virus could seep into underground water reserves.

The South African Cemeteries Association (SACA) Friday warned that burial land could not be sufficient given the current spreading rate of the COVID-19. 

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Because of the likely proliferation of makeshift cemeteries, bacteria, decomposition resulting substances, and the virus could seep into underground water reserves.

Sanitary authorities must take into account circumstances such as grave depth, buries method, and soil characteristics to avoid water contamination.

“If we choose burial sites that have potential to impact the environment, with no mitigation plans, there is a high risk for groundwater contamination,” SACA chairperson Pepe Dass said.

Other COVID-19 severe harmed nations such as the U.S. and Ecuador have resorted to emergency burials when their cemeteries overflowed.

“We cannot have last-minute plans to deal with mass burials. We need to ensure we are prepared for what may come next,” Dass added.​​​​​​​


The Water Research Commission (WRC) has also stressed about emergent mass buries sanitary and environmental risk.

“If cemeteries are constructed and sited properly, there is no additional risk of water contamination occurring because of COVID-19 burials,” WRC researcher Eunice Ubomba-Jaswa stated.

South Africa usable groundwater reserves are about 4,000 million cubic meters, most of which are used in agriculture and livestock.

Given that this nation is frequently affected by droughts, subterranean water is paramount for its 58 million-population supply. 

So far, South Africa is the continental pandemic epicenter with 12,739 COVID-19 cases, 238 deaths, and 5,676 recoveries.​​​​​​​

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