Medical waste fouls busy beach

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iol nws april 19 NS Medical waste 2 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Medical waste found on the beach. Picture Zanele Zulu

Durban - uMhlanga residents were shocked to find medical waste on their beach this week.

The waste, including used drip bags, a soiled nappy, sanitary wipes and syringe caps, washed ashore just south of the lighthouse and was spotted by a jogger at 10am on Thursday.

Deputy head of the Parks, Leisure and Cemeteries Department Christo Swart said the waste was promptly removed and disposed of.

“The medical waste that has been discovered on uMhlanga beach was definitely not dumped but was washed on to the beach. We expect that it is waste from a vessel.”


An industry insider, however, was concerned that no further investigation was done.

The fact that the waste had all washed ashore in one place raised suspicions that the waste could have been dumped near a river or down a manhole and washed through storm-water pipes on to shore.

“There was more than one thing, landing in the exact same spot, which makes me wonder about illegal dumping,” he said.

Members of the Department of Health had arrived by 11am and the waste was promptly removed from the site, but Wayne Coetzer, general manager of the Oyster Box Hotel, was nevertheless disappointed by the fact that tourists were exposed to the medical waste.

“I’m quite shocked to hear of it. The UIP (uMhlanga Urban Improvement Precinct) does such a magnificent job looking after our beachfront so it’s always shocking to hear of something like that. It lets our local and international tourists down,” he said.

The Department of Health was unavailable for comment. - Independent on Saturday

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