According to the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), pollution refers to any change in the environment caused by
(ii) radioactive or other waves; or
(iii) noise, odours, dust or heat,
emitted from any activity, including the storage or treatment of waste or substances, construction and the provision of services, whether engaged in by any person or an organ of state, where that change has an adverse effect on human health or well-being or on the composition, resilience and productivity of natural or managed ecosystems, or on materials useful to people, or will have such an effect in the future.
For litter and land based pollution on the beach, the first port of call should be the respective Local Municipalities (see District Municipalities/ Metropolitan: King Cetshwayo, iLembe, eThekwini, Ugu).
For a hazardous spill report to the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) (refer to contact table).
For Section 30/30A incidents, for example tanker spills into a water course, please follow NEMA Section 30 to report (see links under Additional Information).
Who to contact
The DFFE is the competent authority for:
1. The discharge of effluent from land-derived point and diffuse sources into the coastal environment under the Integrated Coastal Management Act (Act No. 24 of 2008);
2. Management of pollution from waste under NEM: Waste Act (Act No. 59 of 2008).
The discharge of any effluent into the coastal environment from a land-based process must be authorised by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE).
The discharge triggers Listing Notices in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations under NEMA, and is subject to the applicable environmental authorisation by the DEA and / or a Coastal Waters Discharge Permit (CWDP) or a General Authorisation (GA).
The DFFE will work in collaboration with relevant local, provincial and national government departments, in particular the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), in cases where discharge occurs in an estuary.
Who to contact?
Hotline for Tip-offs on Contraventions of Environmental Legislation
Call: 0800 205 005
DFFE: Legal Authorisations, Enforcement and Compliance Inspectorate
Promotes the development of an enabling legal regime, licensing and authorisation system that will oversee enforcement and compliance.
Issue of a Compliance Notice
Where a company is failing to comply with a permit condition or with some other provisions of an environmental statute, a compliance notice may be issued by the DFFE. When issuing a compliance notice, the DFFE does not have to believe there is any actual harm to the environment from the transgression but simply that there is non-compliance with a technical, legally binding requirement.
Issue of a Directive
The DFFE also has the power to issue a directive. Unlike a compliance notice, the authorities may only issue a directive if they believe that actions by the company are actually causing pollution or other damage or degradation to the environment. The obligation in the statutes is to take reasonable measures to avoid such pollution or damage.
What information to report and the procedure for reporting
- Name and contact details of person reporting
- Date and time of observation
- Details of observation
- Location or relative position
- Source / cause of pollution
- Weather and sea conditions