Coast KZN

06 Dec 2022

uMhlanga beaches closed yet again due to E.coli levels

(Northglen News) Picture: The beaches were only re-opened on Thursday, December 1 by City mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.

The eThekwini Municipality has been forced to close uMhlanga’s Bronze and Main beaches just days after they were ‘re-opened’. Last week, eThekwini mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, said Durban was ‘open for business’ and the city’s beaches were ‘open and safe’, and he declared uMhlanga beaches safe for swimming.

However, recent water quality tests by an independent water treatment company, Talbot, show high E. coli levels forcing the closure of the beaches. In all, beaches at the popular tourist destination have been closed for more than 250 days this year.

uMhlanga councillor Nicole Bollman said last week’s re-opening of the beaches was based on a publicly accessible water quality test conducted on November 25. While the tests show that water quality for sewage bacteria had improved considerably, Bollman said the recent rains last weekend flushed the mouth of the Ohlanga River into the ocean.

“There are still hotspots where sewage leaks are bypassing the newly commissioned pump station. I don’t feel it’s safe. I do think the mayor was premature in re-opening uMhlanga’s beaches. I have tried my best to show people what is coming down the river. I am worried that people are at risk of infections. I feel it’s imperative that it is known we don’t want the beaches closed; we want them to be safe for visitors and residents alike to enjoy.

“Although we fully support the tourism industry, which has been hard hit by the various ‘on again, off again’ approaches by the City, our concern is that failure to consider the resolution and repair of the sewer reticulation system in its entirety, from source to the wastewater treatment plant in Phoenix, will result in an ecological and health catastrophe to the unassuming bather coming to our shores for the festive season, placing both them and our professional lifeguards at risk,” Bollman said.