So. Africa: Funeral industry association says parlours could be contaminating Vaal River through hazardous effluent

Author: Naledi Shange, Herald Live (So. Africa), Published on: 28 September 2018

"Funeral parlours could be adding to contamination of Vaal River"

Water used to wash corpses by mortuaries and funeral parlours could be worsening the contamination of the Vaal River‚ the Funeral Industry Reformed Association (Fira) warned on Tuesday. "It's a well-known fact that highly infected blood and life-threatening chemicals enter our natural resources and the cause thereof is that both public and private morgues don't have their sewerage contained and by allowing that‚ it enters the natural water systems by bypassing municipal water systems‚" said Fira chair Johan Rousseau.

He said while the Health Act called for funeral parlours to operate in industrially zoned areas‚ it did not give proper guidelines about zoning for residential areas. “The challenge is that in the residential areas‚ the water from the funeral parlours could get into the municipalities drinking water systems. “This water from the parlours could contain blood and other body fluids which contain diseases so that is why a separate sewerage system is needed for funeral parlours. “As things stand‚ we do not have effective legislation for this. “There is just no proper zoning law in place … What municipalities do is simply agree with the funeral parlour owners [to operate their businesses] without proper guidance‚” Rousseau added. He said some funeral parlour owners unknowingly endangered the lives of people because of a lack of training and knowledge about the industry.

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