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Pollution Crisis: KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast Lagoons and Beaches in Peril

  • Numerous lagoons across the South Coast’s popular tourist towns were polluted by effluent from defective sewage treatment works
  • Reports suggest that all 19 of the sewage treatment works in the Ugu District Municipality weren’t fully functional
  • While the lagoons remained polluted, health warning signs on some of the popular beaches weren’t visible to caution visitors

Zingisa Chirwa is an experienced Briefly News journalist based in Johannesburg, South Africa, who has covered current affairs on the radio for over 15 years.

Many lagoons across the South Coast's tourist towns were polluted due to faulty sewage treatment works.
Safety concerns escalated as many of the South Coast’s lagoons were polluted by faulty sewage treatment plants spewing effluent into the water. Images: Stock Images
Source: Getty Images

Many lagoons and beaches across popular tourist towns in KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast are polluted due to faulty sewage treatment works.

Ugu District’s faulty sewage treatment plants

According to Ground Up, information from the Department of Water and Sanitation revealed that all 19 sewage treatment works in the Ugu District Municipality weren’t fully functional.

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The publication also found that 15 of the District’s sewage treatment plants released untreated or partially treated liquid waste into rives just a few kilometres from lagoons and the sea; the other four plants were situated more inland.

Health Hazard

The lagoons, popular with young children, were reportedly severely polluted. However, in some, such as Ramsgate and Margate, the warning signs weren’t readily visible to visitors.

Citizen scientists, Green Town, who often tested the lagoon between Port Edward and Hibberdene, were reluctant to share their findings. The group explained that they didn’t want to damage tourism, the primary income source for many of the coastal towns.

According to Ground Up, the Ugu District Municipality failed to respond to questions about the non-functional sewage treatment works or the water quality in the lagoons and seas.

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KZN South Coast community rallies for Margate clean-up

Briefly News reported that KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast residents came together to mop up the trail of debris caused by recent storms.

The community project, Tidy Town, spearheaded the clean-up of Margate Beach alongside local business people and volunteers.

The provincial government also assisted those affected by the storm and localised flooding.

Source: Briefly News



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