With only weeks to go before thousands of holiday-makers travel to KwaZulu-Natal, experts have warned that the water off many Durban beaches contains toxic chemicals.
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance activist Priya Pillay described Durban’s beaches as unsafe and unfit for holiday-makers.
“The tests carried out by the eThekwini municipality’s water and sanitation department revealed high levels of E.coli and Enterococcus bacteria, which cause cholera and gastro-intestinal illnesses,” she said.
The city tested beaches around Durban in the past year, ending in July, and the results revealed that the quality of the beach water did not meet South African water standards.
Pillay cited heavy pollution from industries in the city, as well as pollution from informal settlements as the cause.
“Beaches, including Anstey’s and Brighton, are among those affected,” she said.
In February, the bacterium Vibrio vulnificus was found at a Durban beach after a local doctor contracted it while surfing.
This bacterium, which might cause blistering and inflammation, had eaten through the tissue on Dr Peter Breedt’s foot, leaving an open wound.
He was among several people who became sick after swimming or surfing off city beaches. Continue reading