Storm-strewn beach

2012-12-12 00:00

DIRTY brown water which could attract sharks saw South Coast beach authorities permitting only knee-high bathing on most beaches yesterday.

All sorts of debris littered beaches yesterday, for example, wood, rubbish and even a dead donkey and a dead ox.

The donkey washed up on Southport beach while an ox carcass lay on another beach between Anerley and Sunwich Port, said Leon Garbade, owner of Tower 13 who employs South Coast lifeguards.

“We are acting on the advice of the Shark’s Board, who are advising limited bathing to knee-height only until the water clears up, because the water is very dirty owing to all the heavy rains. This attracts sharks.”

He said when the sea will clear depends on how much more rain falls, the tides and the wind.

“Sharks are known to be attracted to dirty water so we are playing it safe,” said Garbade.

Garbade said at Ramsgate lagoon there were signs telling people not to swim, but water monitors were making sure that nobody got into the water.

He said that at other beaches lifeguards were designating swimming areas between flags and watching that bathers did not go in higher than their knees.

Municipal beach manager Anton Botha confirmed that the situation would be carefully monitored.

Asked about the quality of water and possible high E. coli counts in sea water and lagoons — Margate and Ramsgate lagoons in particular — Ugu general manager of water services, Maxwell Pawandiwa, said: “Our sewage systems are operating as expected even though there is a large ingress of storm water from the rains.

Hunter’s stream, which forms part of some of the storm drains that discharge into the sea at Margate, is also being monitored closely and the public is urged not to dump rubbish into this stream, so that we reduce levels of pollution that were detected along this stream.”

Pawandiwa said that the environmental team are keeping a high surveillance around most public streams and appropriate notices are being placed at identified areas to keep the public informed and safe from any health risks posed by the increased flow in public streams and storm drains.

Since the lifeguard strike was resolved last week, Garbade has employed nine new fully qualified lifeguards. He said all beaches they operated on were “in full strength and ready for the busy season”.

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