Coast KZN

26 Jan 2021

Cuttings Beach tide of pollution a cause of concern

Nothando Mthembu (Southlands Sun) Picture: Local fisherman, Levesh Preethrajh was completely appalled at the state of Cuttings Beach during a recent visit

Shocked, appalled and disgusted. That is the impenitent description of what has become of Cuttings Beach in Merebank by a community member, Levesh Preethrajh who was completely horrified at the state of the beach upon a recent visit.

The heavy pollution and debris at the shore of Cuttings Beach in Merebank.

“This is the first time I have been there in two years and I was utterly shocked and sick to see the pollution on the beach. I know it used to be slightly dirty, but this is disgusting. I was quite sickened by seeing all the debris on the shore. At first I thought the area had become a plastic disposal site from the amount of plastic lying here. All the plastic and debris is going into the environment and this is going to find its way into the food chain and destroy the eco-system.

“The state of the stairs leading up to the view point is also in shambles. There re so many alcohol bottles from people who drink and have small parties at the car park up there. This is not a safe place to bring your family.  I know it’s not a mainstream beach like the others in the area, but I think the relevant stakeholders need to look at making this a more formalised beach so people are more of aware of it. Environmental education of the communities upstream from the beach is not going to do much. They can educate people all they want, but if there’s no incentive for people to recycle, nothing will be recycled,” said Preethrajh, who is also a local fisherman.

Ward 68 councillor, Aubrey Snyman said that the pollution at Cuttings Beach has been an ongoing problem for years. “We have constantly been informing the local community on the dangers of their littering and dumping at the beach. But all our pleas and warnings seem to fall on deaf ears. The community of Merebank is already surrounded by a lot of pollution as they are on the receiving end of harmful emissions from the nearby refinery, paper mill and water works plant. People shouldn’t be adding to the issue. There are dumpsites such as the DSW Travancore Drive dump, the DSW Collingwood Depot as well as the Tara Road Garden Refuse site. They are there for the proper disposal of rubbish and people need to use them. I can’t understand why people continue to pollute their beach. I remind the public that this is also a threat to the environment and marine life. We have local groups and departments that are monitoring this issue. A clean-up of the area is on the cards but we need the public to do better otherwise this effort proves futile.”

South Durban Basin Area Based Management manager, Eurakha Singh said: “We have organised many clean ups at Cuttings Beach where tons of plastic has been picked up and sent for recycling. This is sadly an unsustainable effort since each time there is heavy rainfall, the waste washes from the hinterland into the ocean and subsequently with wave action washes back onto the shore. The impact of this on sea and ocean life and the environment is devastating and hence education on the responsible recycling of plastics needs to be urgently undertaken on an ongoing basis with communities.”

WATCH: Cuttings Beach tide of pollution a cause of concern