Water at Bay beaches may be unsafe

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I WISH to bring to the attention of metro residents the fact that water quality of only two city beaches has been monitored since 2011, those being Kings Beach and Humewood. Those two beaches are the only two which have achieved Blue Flag status of late.

It is of grave concern that such negligence exists, given the numbers of residents, tourists, sportsmen and women who use our beaches daily for recreational purposes.

The laws governing the monitoring of water quality are conveniently ignored in this metro where we aspire to being called the water sports capital of South Africa.

I have independent test results performed by the SABS, that indicate E coli levels have tested above the regulatory limit in the Bay on several occasions since last year and ongoing, from January 9 to February 11 this year. It can therefore be assumed that large volumes of effluent are entering the sea at the points of contamination.

How can the metro remedy any imminent pollution situation on our foreshores if monitoring is not being done?

The fact that a budget of R82-million has been placed on the 2013-14 draft budget for the upgrade of the Fishwater Flats Waste Treatment Works bears out the widely held suspicion that this plant is a big culprit in dumping effluent into the Bay.

The infrastructure and engineering department must be urged to take firm hold of maintenance of the metro’s sewerage system and take responsibility to see that no dumping is conveniently channelled into the sea.

It is a well-known fact that on certain days a huge swathe of “brown” can be seen in the normally blue waters of Algoa Bay as one drives along Settlers Way. This is the reality and cannot be hidden.

Some good news is that the city manager has informed me that the sampling programme of all metro beaches from Sundays River mouth to Van Stadens will recommence during this month, with the results being tabled at the public health standing committee. I earnestly trust that this will indeed come about and I will be monitoring the progress of the programme.

Our constitution recognises the right of all to live in an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being. The purity of our seawater forms part of that environment and as an elected representative of the residents of the metro, I will not stop fighting for those rights.

Brenda Matthee, DA councillor, public health committee, NMBM

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