Durban — Five popular Durban beaches have been cited as having critical levels of E coli.
That was according to the Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology (IWWT) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), which conducted water quality tests at some of Durban’s popular beaches.
The institute’s results indicated that the six beaches under evaluation were alarming, with one beach, Glenashley, showing poor levels of E coli in the water that was sampled, and the other five beaches were even more concerning.
IWWT director Professor Faizal Bux confirmed that five beaches, Addington, Bay of Plenty, Virginia, uMhlanga and Laguna had critical levels of Escherichia coli (E coli) in the water.
“The situation at these five beaches is much more serious, with the water quality being rated as ‘critical’ and the advice from the scientists at the IWWT is that these beaches should not be used for recreational purposes until the E coli levels drop to acceptable standards,” Bux advised.
The Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology at DUT conducted independent water quality tests and released the results in the interests of the public.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the eThekwini Municipality announced that 22 out of 23 bathing beaches were open and safe for swimming.
Municipal spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said the announcement was made during an executive committee meeting on Tuesday.
Community and emergency Deputy City Manager Dr Musa Gumede reported to Exco that stringent sampling and testing procedures were conducted to ensure beach water quality on a weekly basis. The latest results from these tests indicate no poor water quality of coastal waters, demonstrating the municipality's unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety of beachgoers.
Speaking on the temporary closure of the Warner and Winklespruit beaches, Gumede said these measures were taken purely as a precautionary response to the high tides affecting various coastal areas across the country. He stressed that these closures were not linked to beach water quality issues.
“To promote transparency and confidence in municipal procedures, the City has extended an invitation to water and wastewater treatment specialists, Talbot, to carry out concurrent sampling so that the beach water quality results are verified.
“This collaborative effort aims to address any discrepancies in water quality results and to bolster the municipality's credibility. The municipality has been carrying out intensified beach water quality testing since the flood disaster. It is also incorrect that central beaches in the City are currently closed,” Sisilana said.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda expressed his satisfaction with the swift action taken to replace old sewer pumps following his recent oversight visit to pump stations servicing Warner and Winkelspruit beaches.
However, he was concerned about the negligent practices of some residents and businesses, particularly certain food outlets, which continue to improperly dispose of fats and foreign materials into the sewer system, leading to disruptive blockages which cause sewer overflows in some parts of the City.
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