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05 Jun 2021

Plans to tackle coastal erosion at Alkantstrand

Gugu Myeni (Zululand Observer) Picture: Dave Savides. The geobag wall at Alkantstrand.

The City of uMhlathuze is set to submit a Maintenance Management Plan (MMP) to tackle severe coastal erosion at Alkantstrand. The plan to be submitted to the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), seeks to replenish sand onto the beach, north of the breakwater, as well as the maintenance of the geobags.

The geobag barricade began collapsing earlier this year, under the pressure from strong seas at high tides. Failure to replenish beach sand was cited among the contributing factors to the coastal erosion.

In 2013, the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs published a Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI) fact sheet. Their study, encompassing the uMhlathuze, uMlalazi and uMfolozi municipalities, indicated that while most of the beaches are only at moderate risk from erosion, climate change and sea-level rise, the immediate section from Alkantstrand northwards is in serious danger.

Huge tidal surges during storms over the past years have seen mass disintegration and narrowing of the dune defence that protects the coastline.

According to the CVI, 42% of the 101 km uThungulu (King Cetshwayo) coastline is at low risk, 53% at moderate risk and 4% at high risk. That risk appears to be becoming increasingly greater, with the rate at which the dune front is collapsing suggesting urgent steps need to be taken.

A call has been made for Interested and Affected Parties (I&APs) to make representations on the proposal for the MMP.’

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