Coast KZN

20 Aug 2020

Amanzimtoti river heavily polluted with raw sewage, plastic and litter

Bianca Lalbahadur (South Coast Sun) Picture: Rev Andrew Manning is disgusted by the state of Little Amanzimtoti River

The Little Amanzimtoti River on Longacrest Drive is in a dreadful state. It is riddled with litter, sewage and an overgrowth of water lettuce. Chairperson of the Amanzimtoti Conservancy, Rev Andrew Manning, explained that pollution in the area is an ongoing issue.

“It’s quite obvious that we have a major problem. The conservancy is approached constantly by members of the public as they are seeing more and more leaks into rivers, but this is unbelievable. The state of the river is unacceptable. There are a lot of contributing factors that result in rivers becoming polluted, such as overflowing pump stations, illegal connections and leaks in pipes. Just because there is a valid reason or excuse, it doesn’t mean that it is acceptable.”

The river has become so heavily polluted by what appears to be raw sewage that plastic and litter floats on the surface. An abundance of water lettuce, which is an invasive alien plant that can reduce the oxygen in the water and kill fish, is covering most of the river.

“We are trying our best to clean-up the river, but because of the sewage it is almost impossible. There has not been a water lettuce problem for a while, but because of the nutrients level in the river caused by the sewage, the problem is back. At this stage we are unable to retrieve water samples.”

According to Manning, the organisation also aims to create a task team from the Isipingo Amanzimtoti Catchment Management Forum.   He urges residents to continue to report sewage leaks to eThekwini Municipality via email or WhatsApp on 073-148-3477 and provide photos and the exact location where possible.

Ward 97 Councillor, André Beetge said, “We find ourselves in the unfortunate position of playing host to the mouths of the Msimbazi, Illovo, Winklespruit, Little Amanzimtoti and Amanzimtoti rivers within ward 97. While we are constantly attempting to monitor and encourage residents to report outfalls that originate within the ward, reality remains that much of what we observe, has its origin further upstream. While it does occur, it’s not common for a waste water line to break or become ruptured, but instead more than 90 per cent of outfall relates to contamination. This was again evident on Monday, 17 August when the pump station next to the treatment works along the Little Amanzimtoti river, stopped operating in turn resulting in outfall into the river.”

“Once the submergible pumps were exposed, the main causes were identified as an array of sanitary pads, rags, disposable nappies and plastics. A further contributing factor being that the municipality is once again dragging its heels with confirming a sludge removal contractor, in turn necessitating the treatment plant to rely on alternatives that include chlorination, the supply of which is also not up to full expectation. While some blame can be laid at the door of Covid-19 and bid committees being unable to properly function, the larger part remains vested with poor planning. An additional sludge tank is destined to be commissioned by Thursday, 20 August that should eliminate fine spillage that occasionally finds its way into the river,” he added.