Knysna effort to end estuary pollution

Knysna effort to end estuary pollution

Knysna authorities are tracking polluters who have been dumping oil in the Knysna Estuary and have established a labour-intensive regime to stop solid waste washing into the famous waterway.

The efforts are being spearheaded by SANParks in partnership with the Knysna municipality and other stakeholders in the Garden Route town.

SANParks spokesperson Nandi Mgwadlamba said a team including the Knysna municipal manager had on Monday inspected pollution hotspots in the Bongani and Bigai catchments, which originate in the high-lying townships north and east of the estuary, plus others in the central business district.

“They noted illegal access routes and dumping at various spots. The aim is to clamp down on all pollution points and protect the Knysna Estuary at all costs.”

A range of stakeholders were engaging under the banner of the Knysna Authorities Pollution Committee and another focus point was sampling water quality, she said.

“Sampling is done on the wastewater treatment works effluent and levels of ammonia, acidity, alkalinity, nitrates and chlorine are monitored.”

Garden Route National Park Knysna manager Megan Taplin said high readings of ammonia were a concern to SANParks in terms of its potential negative effect on plant and animal life in the estuary.

“We are working with our partners to do more than just sample for E coli in the estuary and to instead monitor for all potential polluters.”

There was recent evidence of high loads of oil entering the system and ending up at the treatment works, she said.

“Authorities will renew investigations to find the source of the oil and will soon find and fine the culprits.”

Mgwadlamba said a number of positive proactive interventions were planned, including the municipality appointing a freshwater scientist.

“The specialist will assess the Bongani River system from source to sea including the state of the wetlands in the area, and suggest rehabilitation measures for the Bongani catchment,” she said.

There were also initiatives aimed at keeping solid waste out of the estuary, including planned awareness campaigns, regular cleanups and the rollout of nets to snare debris being washed in at culverts.

SANParks and the Knysna municipality would enter into an agreement where SANParks teams would clean the nets regularly, she said.

Further, a joint survey of the industrial area had been undertaken by the Knysna municipality, Garden Route District Municipality and SANParks.

“Findings and necessary actions for business owners will be finalised soon.”

Knysna technical director Pravir Hariparsad urged residents to report any manhole blockages or spills to the municipal hotline at 044-302-6331 during office hours.

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Sourced from: Herald LIVE

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