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10 Aug 2022

City launches investigation into hundreds of dead fish at Isipingo beach lagoon while clean up operation is under way

Karen Singh (Mercury: IOL) Picture: Screen grab from video. Hundreds of dead fish found along the Isipingo beach lagoon. eThekwini Municipality has issued a warning to the public against collecting and consuming dead fish.

Durban – eThekwini Municipality announced on Wednesday that the city has begun a clean-up operation at the Isipingo Beach lagoon following the discovery of hundreds of dead fish at the weekend. The city said specialist clean-up crews are on site to collect and dispose of the fish in a responsible manner.

“Once again the public is advised to refrain from fishing in the vicinity, and from collecting or consuming the dead species while clean up operation is under way,” it said.

This comes after the city issued a public notice on the its Facebook page on Tuesday, cautioning the public against collecting and consuming dead fish from Isipingo beach lagoon.

“In the interest of public safety, the city has taken a decision to prohibit access to the affected water courses until repairs to the pump station are finalised,” said the municipality yesterday.

In a statement on Wednesday, the city said contact with the lagoon and seawater must also be avoided.

“An investigation to ascertain the root cause of the pollution is under way,” said the municipality.

The city said it would continue to monitor water quality in rivers and beaches through sampling and field surveys. Commenting on the public notice yesterday, a member of the public said this is not the first time this has happened. She said this has been happening since March 2016.

“What are you doing about the faulty pump? How long will the floods be your excuse? How are you planning on preventing this from happening in future?” she asked, adding that the city’s warnings are not good enough anymore.

In a video shared on social media platforms on Tuesday, a large number of dead fish are seen at the edge of the river mouth. The man behind the camera said he is at the Isipingo river mouth where hundreds of fish are dead.

“There is a heavy stench in this water, it seems like it is very heavily contaminated. It is actually shocking to see the amount of fish that is dead. It is devastating. It is shocking,” he said.

In another video shared on social media, the man capturing the footage says there are dead fish lying on top of green sludge.

Speaking to eNCA on Wednesday, Desmond D’sa from the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) said these types of incidents have been happening at the lagoon for quite a number of years. He suspected it was due to sewage spills.

“There’s thousands of fish, it’s shocking,” said D’sa.