Exclusive interview with Mr Vumile William Dlova, a flow agent with the Genius of Space project in Langrug informal settlement in the Western Cape – one of the site visits at this year’s African Utility Week.
The Biomimicry Genius of Space project is a wastewater treatment system designed to find an innovative solution to water pollution in the Berg River.
Although water and sanitation, as well as bulk services are generally available in Langrug informal settlement, these services are limited and have led to the disposal of wastewater and solid waste throughout the settlement. This flows into storm water drains and ultimately into the Berg River. Biomimicry can be applied based on how nature cleans water and manages waste.
The Genius of Space system gives Langrug residents the opportunity to dispose of their grey water in disposal drums where it is filtered. The water then flows into the underground pipes into the tree gardens were it gets treated. Some 500 Langrug residents are currently using the 27 disposal points in the settlement.
What is your name and where do you live?
My name is Vumile William Dlova from Willowvale Town in the Eastern Cape. I have been staying in Langrug since 1999 with my four dependents, my wife and three children.
Tell us more about your background, your family?
As I said I came here from the Eastern Cape with my family to better our lives.
How long have you been working at Genius of SPACE? What are you doing?
I started as the flow agent on 30 January 2017. Here in the community we are given a chance to work for a cycle of three months.
How does it work?
Currently the project is working every well. No more do we have bad smells when walking in the settlement. With all the disposal points scattered around it is simple for everyone as they are so many options to choose which one to use. There are problems but we always work through them. Like people pour in things that are not supposed to be in there. But through the help of the LCPC we go from door to door, asking people to use the disposal points wisely. It is kind of hard for residents not to work with us as we are all neighbours. We work from 8am-2pm and after 2pm I am a neighbour in the MEZA2MEZA outreach campaign.
How has it changed the community?
This system changed the community because our children are now playing in a clean, dry place with no dirty water running between houses. There are no more flies around. We are living in a healthy environment.
How has it changed life for you?
This project has given me an opportunity to work for the community with the community. It has also offered me a job to support my family as I was unemployed. My wife also worked for the project and this made a difference in our family.
How is the project going to develop in the future?
It can develop well if we participate as the residents. I think if we take care of this project then it can continue, but if not, then it will go nowhere.
What is your message about Genius of SPACE for other communities?
To the community, the only way to stay healthy is to work hand in hand with each other and with Genius of Space, since they are trying to change our lives in the community.
Interview with organisers of the project: http://www.african-utility-week.com/GeniusofSPACE-interview
Homepage image: OMICS International