KNYSNA NEWS - Authorities in Knysna including the South African National Parks (SANParks), the Knysna Municipality, the Garden Route District Municipality and the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA) are making headway in efforts to protect the ecological health of South Africa’s number 1 estuary in Knysna.
Water samples taken by SANParks in the Knysna estuary’s deepwater channels are compliant with the Department of Water Affairs’ guideline on ecoli levels for recreational areas.
‘The results indicate that the pollution is localised to certain hotpots affecting the estuary and not affecting the main deepwater channels’ says Park Manager for Knysna, Megan Taplin.
Of the fifteen (15) sites monitored, four (4) have a history of non-compliance including the Bongani channel, Long Street and the Train Station culverts, which are still non-compliant. The Queen Street culvert showed a decline in the amount of ecoli levels in water samples taken on the 15th October 2019.
Now the Garden Route District Municipality and Knysna Municipality will investigate the Long Street site further. ‘We will take water samples and walk the system to identify the exact problematic spot’ points out Director for technical services for the Knysna Municipality, Pravir Hariparsad.
As soon as early next week, the District and the Municipality will be out taking further samples.
Of concern to the Committee is the ongoing influx of oil and grease to the Water Treatment Works.
The District’s inspections have led to possible polluters closer to lower parts of the CBD. Earlier in the year, investigations were conducted at eateries in that vicinity and now authorities are confident further samples will eventually reveal polluters.
The Municipality has committed resources to deal with any arising incident that may threaten the ecological health of the estuary. ‘We rely on residents reporting incidents via our app or customer services after hours’ says Hariparsad.
Positive interventions to reduce the amount of solid waste entering the estuary include the re-introduction of Working for the Coast teams to pick up litter around the estuary as well as culverts in the CBD and the Bongani river system. This will ensure regular clean ups to supplement the work done by the Municipality in upstream areas and the CBD.
In a bid to encourage environmentally responsible estuary use, SANParks has introduced new incentives for environmentally-friendly vessels, with discounts available on vessel permits for four-stroke engines. Tariffs for non-motorised vessels are already discounted from last year’s tariffs.
Residents and business are requested to not dispose of oil and grease in main drains or storm water systems. Any establishments serving food should ensure they have the proper fat traps and disposal methods in place. Look out for ways of disposing fats in a campaign to be rolled out by the Municipality at the end of November 2019.
Blockages in manholes can be reported to the Municipality’s hotline 044 302 6331 (office hours) and also an app (knysna.comunity.me).
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