South Africa – As thousands of holidaymakers are expected to descend on Durban shores for the festive season, eThekwini Municipality Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda has assured visitors and residents that the city’s beaches are safe for swimming .
Kaunda gave his assurance as he officially reopened the iconic uMhlanga Rocks Whalebone Pier to much fanfare and public applause, just in time for the bumper festive season in Durban .
Kaunda said the results conducted jointly with the Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology (IWWT) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) revealed an improvement of the beach water quality .
“The city’s results sampled on 12 December, as part of its weekly routine testing, have also revealed that of the 23 bathing beaches, 20 beaches are e-coli compliant with acceptable standards for swimming and other water recreational use .
“The safety of residents and visitors remains a priority and with constant testing, we want to assure holidaymakers and residents of their safety .
These results confirm an improvement in our beach water quality, as most are compliant with excellent and acceptable standards for swimming and other recreational use,” Kaunda said .
The Mayor said the city has a team of expert scientists that are hard at work testing the water quality at the municipal ISO 17025 accredited laboratory .
Kaunda emphasised that the municipality is transparent with the results, which are shared publicly .
“If there are poor results, the pollution team immediately traces the source so that remedial work is done to stop the pollution,” he said .
The city also conducts re-sampling to ensure the quality of beach water so that an informed decision is made whether or not to close a particular beach .
Kaunda said the city will continue joint sampling with an independent organisation, including the IWWT and Adopt-A-River, whose samples are tested by Talbot .
“The city does daily monitoring of all 23 bathing beaches to make an informed decision .
However, for joint sampling, only selected beaches are tested, and some of which are non-bathing .
“Beaches that have poor water quality are closed and the public is informed when the water at beaches has been tested and if they are safe for swimming .
This routine weekly testing is continuing and conducted across all the city’s 23 bathing beaches,” Kaunda explained .
The beaches that are open include uShaka, Addington, Point, North, Bay of Plenty, Wedge, Battery, South, Country Club, Thekwini, Laguna, uMhlanga Main, uMdloti Main, Bronze, Westbrook, uMgababa, Toti Main, Reunion, Warner and Brighton .
The beaches that are closed include Pipeline, Winkelespruit and Anstey’s .
Thirty-four swimming pools are open, and these include the Laguna Paddling Swimming Pool, which was reopened recently after it was closed due to infrastructural challenges .
Kaunda also announced that the repairs at the popular Children Amusement Centre swimming pool, which is along the beachfront, are expected to be completed soon .
He said 65 beach guides will be stationed across the various city beaches to aid visitors and an additional 160 seasonal lifeguards have also been deployed to beaches .
“This attests to the fact that the city is ready to host a safe and memorable festive season for the anticipated 792 410 visitors expected to flock to Durban,” Kaunda said .
Increased police visibility
On safety measures, Kaunda said the city has beefed up its staff complement as well as increased police visibility at tourism precincts and along the beachfront .
“Further bolstering these efforts is that all Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in the inner city are operational .
Law enforcement will also be out in full force, with about 168 contract security personnel employed for the duration of the festive season and the 62 new metro police vehicles will patrol the streets,” Kaunda said .
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