Durban — EThekwini Municipality has announced the opening of 22 beaches that were declared unsafe for swimming following heavy flooding which contaminated the sea.
The announcement was made by mayor Mxolisi Kaunda in a post-council media briefing that the City held on Thursday.
He said only Warner Beach in eManzimtoti, south of Durban, would remain closed.
The City had recently closed the beaches on the advice of the Natal Sharks Board after the sea was contaminated with logs and unsafe objects due to the recent heavy rains.
“As you may be aware, we recently closed beaches after the Natal Sharks Board advised the City to do so. This was because of murky water full of logs and unsafe objects due to recent heavy rains that resulted in severe flooding.
“The downpour caused shark nets at most beaches to break, making beaches unsafe for bathing.
“In addition to this, the public is reminded that the municipality is constantly monitoring the water quality at all beaches to ensure the safety of residents and tourists,” said Kaunda.
Furthermore, he said the municipality had started the process of joint sampling of beach water quality with Adopt-a-River, a non-profit organisation whose samples are tested by an independent laboratory, Talbot.
Kaunda said the joint sampling was to enable credible comparison of test results in the interests of transparency and public safety.
He assured residents and visitors that when they visited Durban during the festive season, they would find the beaches open and safe for swimming.
On fixing ailing infrastructure, Kaunda said the proactive maintenance work was essential in preventing the pollution of the adjacent river and sea, where the wastewater treatment plants were discharging treated effluent.
He said that dredging activities had already commenced at Kingsburgh Water Treatment Plant.
Similar initiatives at other wastewater treatment plants were set to begin soon.
Kaunda said that as a coastal city, eThekwini experienced floods which affected the functionality of water and sanitation infrastructure.
He said as a proactive measure to ensure that the infrastructure was not adversely affected, the municipality had set aside more than R6 million over the next six months for the dredging of pond sludge at various wastewater treatment facilities.
Kaunda further spoke about the progress the City had made in repairing sewer pump stations that had been responsible for polluting beaches.
He said the City had a dedicated technical team that met regularly to analyse the water quality reports from beaches.
He said the team also constantly monitored pump stations and ensured that all pending technical glitches were identified and resolved speedily.
As a result, Kaunda was pleased that the Ohlange, Kingsway and Warnerdoone pump stations were now fully operational. This had led to most beaches in the north and south being opened for swimming.
He concluded by announcing a R265 million upgrade to the Hammarsdale Wastewater Treatment Plant which he said would also unlock housing development and business in the area.
Kaunda said the eThekwini population was increasing at an alarming rate, which placed a huge strain on water and sanitation infrastructure.
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