Concern at State of Beaches in South Africa's Durban

Large numbers of businesses in KwaZulu-Natal's eThekwini on South Africa's eastern seaboard - which includes the port city of Durban - rely heavily on tourism. The city's beaches are facing an ongoing sewage crisis. Many have been closed along the Durban coastline.

Close to 500,000 local and international holidaymakers have visited Durban beaches, in Kwazulu-Natal, despite allegations that the city's beaches are contaminated with E. coli and human waste. From recorded water quality results, it is quite clear that most of the eThekwini municipality beaches are currently not safe for public and recreational activities, writes Anja Du Plessis for The Conversation.

Half of wastewater treatment works in South Africa fail to treat sewage properly and in many cases fail to treat it at all, writes Steve Kretzmann for GroundUp. This is according to the 2022 Green Drop report.

"This decline is at both the treatment and sewer collection levels," states the report. It is not just that wastewater treatment works are failing to properly treat sewage before releasing it back into the environment, much of it is spilling into the environment before even getting to the treatment works.


eThekwini municipality cleanup crews have attempted to tackle the massive amount of waste pouring out of effluent and drainage pipes that discharge into the ocean. The beaches in eThekwini have been opened and closed in short succession as the City battles to control E. coli levels.

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