By: Mel

I think all builders should be charged a noise pollution and botheration tax and the money be shared amongst the residents of the neighbourhood, who have had their peace and calm utterly shattered.

buildingI chose my flat because of its quiet location and lovely view so that I can actually get a day’s work done from home. For the past five months there has been nothing but banging, crashing and thumping, with belching diesel fumes making their way into the open windows, along with the yells and shouts of the builders and the rumble of endless trucks, cranes and cars trundling up and down this quite cul de sac every day.

The neighbours pets are freaked out, and there has not been any consultation with the residents regarding the process that is taking place. I call it a ‘process’ because ‘creation’ would be too blossoming a word to use for the monstrosity being built, born as a result of out right greed. It a huge brown bricked colossus already at two stories and a third level is about to be added.

A whole section of the road’s properties have had their views ruined and it is a rather ironic that we also have to endure the process of this construction, literally watching each day’s work remove yet another chunk of the horizon.

Building is highly resource intensive and there is a lot of waste generated that gets trucked away – to where we are not sure. Vast quantities of fresh water is wasted in cleaning up the mess left behind by the builders. I have been watching this happen every day and it has brought to my attention the many other forms of water wasting I see on my journeys around town. Take for instance a garden service or gardener – tasked with cleaning the front of the home or office in question – usually a paved area – using a hosepipe for the task. Hundreds of litres of fresh water is used to get rid of whatever matter out of place is lurking that ruins the aesthetics of the place.

Fresh water is a scarce resource and South Africa is going to face a water crisis if the level of understanding around the use of water is not raised dramatically and with that, very measurable targets for reduction of use along with incentives to recycle waste water are put in place.

I’ve been wondering if it would be possible for large scale builders to be tasked with bringing their own tanks of recycled grey water to building sites and to recycle all left over building materials to be used in communities that need homes built.

Municipalities should encourage the installation of grey water systems for all developments, blocks of flats and big houses with bountiful incentives so that the beautiful fresh water we do have is not literally poured down the drain.

It is very easy to open a tap and I have seen instances in restaurant kitchens where huge quantities of water are used to wash a single glass. Washing up with the tap running wastes hundreds of litres of water, per wash. Simple maths shows that this kind of water wastage, in one household alone, can add up to millions of litres over a lifetime. Think of the collective impact of the water wastage that takes place in a city.

Water is life and it impacts the health of everything on this planet. Let us all be a lot more conscious about how we use our water and what can be done, at every turn, to conserve it. What can you do today to become more water wise?