Anglers raise concerns over water quality at Monwabisi beach

Monwabisi beach in Khayelitsha. File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Monwabisi beach in Khayelitsha. File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 31, 2019


Cape Town – Anglers who make a living catching fish at a popular Monwabisi beach spot have raised concerns over effluent and litter running into the water.

They said that the polluted water sometimes made it difficult for them to catch any fish.

The Cape Times earlier this month reported that the City of Cape Town’s stormwater staff found that effluent emanating from a stormwater system in a built-up area was running into streams at the beach.

Their admission came following questions after a jogger recorded footage for the run-off.

The City blamed the pollution on “unprecedented numbers of land invasions” in recent years, and one of the biggest newly established settlements, New Monwabisi.

Ryan Richards from Kuils River said: “I’ve seen all kinds of things coming out from this canal including dead animals, nappies and plastics. For us as fishers the plastic that comes out is more the problem as it chases the fish away.

“We also think it might have an impact on people who have to eat this fish. We definitely believe that this is pollution and something must be done to address it.”

When the Cape Times visited the site, Richards pointed to a dead seal a few metres from the canal.

Despite Mayco member for water and waste services Xanthea Limberg saying the City erected signage warning of a potential pollution risk, there was none when the Cape Times visited.

“We found this dead seal lying here on Monday we think it’s because of this dirt that comes out.

“When it’s scorching hot this area can be unbearable to stick around because of the stench in the air; it can be nauseating. So we would move,” Richards said.

Craig Lentoor, another fisher, said the City should have erected signage.

“On big days like Christmas and other holidays the beach gets full on the other side. Some young children who stay nearby, whom we assume don’t tell their parents because we won’t see adult supervision, would swim here, which is a health risk,” Lentoor said.

According to the City, challenges in service provision were a result of settlements being created on unsuitable land.

“Engineering-wise, the grades on the dunes don’t allow for adequate services design. There’s also no bulk sewerage network for the purposes of drainage. 

"New bulk infrastructure will be required to adequately provide piped sewerage networks to these areas. The City conducts ongoing community engagement, education and awareness programmes across the entire metro,” the City said.

UWC senior researcher Professor Leslie Petrik had said the service provision by the City and delayed upgrades to its wastewater treatment works were to blame for effluent running into the water at Monwabisi Beach.

She said Monwabisi and most of False Bay were severely impacted by sewage effluent and the City’s own monitoring showed excessively high microbial counts over many years along the bay.

Cape Times

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