By Neelam Rahim
Residents and visitors to eThekwini have been warned by the eThekwini Municipality and water treatment service company Talbot that beaches along the Durban coastline and some rivers are unsafe for use. This could be the after-effect of the recent floods when the city’s wastewater treatment facility and sanitation infrastructure were damaged. Radio Islam speaks to Talbot Associate Director – Laboratories, Micole Martens.
“E-coli is not a harmful bacteria but unfortunately when it is found in water it’s one of the strongest indicators of sewerage or animal waste contamination.”
“The infection increases your exposure to other pathogens, which can obviously result in illness. Drinking water with high counts of E-Coli can cause a short term illness including diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches and at times vomiting,” Micole says.
We share light on beaches that were targeted for the testing that was done, and which resulted in closure after a test for high E-Coli levels.
Micole says, “All the main beaches in eThekwini were tested starting from Point beach through the South down to Battery Beach and Country beach around Sun Coast.
We have found that there has been a trend of high account E-Coli bacteria found in Country Club beach and Battery beach. This finding, unfortunately, does not call for immediate closure. We are merely trying to raise public awareness by putting the results out so people can make up their own opinion. At the same time, it puts a bit of pressure for accountability on the city to decide whether to close or not.”
Micole also warns that if you are in and around Durban City, it would be best to avoid the Battery and Country beach.
Ultimately Micole suggests that combating E-coli and getting the waters clean again comes down to a point where treatment plants need to be upgraded or renewed completely, which comes at a cost and in a budget.
“It’s more of everyone standing together and asking questions and holding the city more accountable on what are their next steps? And their plans to fixing the problem, says Micole.”