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08 Dec 2017

Trashed beachfront is a tourism turn-off

Dave Savides (Zululand Observer)

In spite of the fact there are laws against drinking alcohol in public, as well as municipal by-laws to further enforce these, one does not have to look very far to see this offence is totally ignored by the public.

Any person who has taken an early drive, run or cycle to Alkantstrand – a beautiful beach which should be the pride and joy of the city – would have been greeted by the sight of hundreds of discarded empty beer bottles, and would have had to tread warily among broken glass scattered from the car parks to the beach itself.

It used to be that this situation only prevailed on a Saturday or Sunday morning after the ‘night before’ parties; now it is commonplace on any day of the week.

This despite the bold signage proclaiming zero tolerance for alcohol in the beach precinct, and the prosecution that will be meted to offenders.

Out-of-town visitors, and especially those from other countries, find it hard to believe what is before their eyes, and often simply turn around and leave.

In many cases, lying among the shards and bottles are the sleeping bodies of the hungover party-goers, while there is often evidence of the inevitable blood-shedding from drunken brawls.

An even more disturbing trend reported by beach authorities is that young girls, even pre-teens, are arriving at the beach in taxis and spending the night there among inebriated adult men, the ramifications of which are obvious.

The Bay Hall recreational area is an equally abused venue for drinking and public disorder, with very little evidence of action from the authorities – apart from the early morning cleaning teams that repair the damage for the day that lies ahead.

Naval Island is also fast heading into becoming a no-go zone in the mornings.

Apart from the littering itself, there is the danger of serious cuts and wounds from broken glass, as well as the potential for drink-and-drive deaths and drownings, which are regularly linked to alcohol consumption.

In times past, the police set up stop-and-search road blocks at the beach parking entrance on certain peak holidays, confiscating alcohol and making arrests if drivers are found to be intoxicated.

So why is uncontrolled drinking in public allowed at other times, especially over weekends?

But trashing of the amenities and public vandalism are undoing everything that is great about our wonderful Zululand coastal attractions.

Recreation has become ‘wreck’creation.