Littering causes problems for animals as well: Manungo

RUNDU, 31 MAY – Littering not only leads to environmental pollution, but can cause health problems for animals as well, the lead advisor in the Ministry of Land Reform’s Communal Land Development Project has said.
Speaking to Nampa during the clean-up campaign here last Friday, Oliver Manungo said in Namibia, there is a prevalence of livestock grazing within urban areas.
“They end up scavenging in bins and on dump sites, where baby diapers, plastic and all sorts of refuse is dumped,” he said.
He explained that since the objects are non-digestible, it often remains in the animal’s gut and blocks the absorption of food. This leads to progressive weakness and eventually, death.
Manungo referred to a case from when the Oshakati Abattoir was still in operation, where 12 per cent of carcases were condemned due to beef measles caused by poor sanitation and consumption of human faeces disposed of in plastic bags.
He said another problem is cattle consuming sharp metal objects such as nails and wires while grazing.
“Ruminants are fast eaters and not selective when grazing, so when these animals are eating grass the metal objects are also unintentionally consumed. These objects perforate the gut and usually cause the dirty contents of the rumen to enter the body, causing diseases,” he said.
Manungo said another common problem is pica, whereby cattle seek minerals missing from their diet by consuming objects like cardboard, rags, bones, hides, human faeces, garbage and other disposed items.
He said this tends to be a problem among domesticated animals on farms.