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Botswana tackles nitrate pollution

BOTSWANA HAS begun a project to fight nitrate pollution in groundwater in its Serowe-Orapa region.

The country's Department of Geological Survey is working with the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources to tackle pollution in the Serowe-Orapa region.

The World Health Organisation's limit is 45mg/l of nitrate for drinking water.

Studies have shown that nitrate levels in Botswana often range between 100 to 200mg/l and sometimes as high as 400 to 600 mg/l.

In one borehole, between Letlhakane and Orapa, the level was a frightening 2,000mg/l.

Nitrate is undetectable in water without testing because it is colourless, odourless and tasteless. Its major entry routes into groundwater are septic tanks and pit latrines, farm animal feed sites and animal wastes.

The Botswana-German project has raised interest in neighbouring South Africa and Namibia, which face similar nitrate pollution problems.

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