Home News eThekwini Municipality urged to act against ‘critical’ levels of e. coli on Durban’s beaches

eThekwini Municipality urged to act against ‘critical’ levels of e. coli on Durban’s beaches

by Zahid Jadwat

Durban’s beaches have been plagued by waves of e.coli outbreaks. [Picture: KZN Tourism]


There is a fresh wave of calls for the eThekwini Municipality to act speedily against e. coli on Durban’s beaches. Scientists found alarming levels of the bacteria at 11 of the city’s beaches.

Speaking in an interview on Salaamedia on Wednesday, Professor Faizal Bux, director of the Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), said he believed the cause of “critical levels” of e. coli on Durban’s beaches was a wastewater treatment plant along the Umgeni River.

“Historically, the Umgeni River mouth has always had very high e.coli levels. The reason could be attributed to the wastewater treatment plant upstream. It could be attributed to service pump stations also located along the Umgeni River,” he said.

“The municipality is well aware of the potential causes of the pollution getting into the ocean. They should be having a plan in place where they address these infrastructure problems.”


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Durban’s beaches blighted by e. coli

Tests conducted by DUT scientists last week found 11 of 14 beaches to be affected, according to The Citizen. These stretched all the way from Ballito Tidal Pool to Addington Beach – uShaka was the exception.

Now, ActionSA plans to take the municipality to court. Chairperson Zwakele Mncwango said the municipality needed to urgently address the dilapidation of sewage treatment plants, as he believed that was the source of the problem.

“We still have sewage pump stations that are not yet fixed, we still have sewage treatment plants that are not yet fixed. We are honestly pleading with the grand coalition of the DA and the ANC to take care of the people of eThekwini by fixing of our infrastructure,” he said.

However, this is not the first time that the subtropical city, once a playground for holidaymakers, is facing criticism for the high levels of e. coli on its beaches. In recent years, it has had to open and close beaches whenever an outbreak occurred, much to the detriment of its tourism industry.

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