Sand pumping ‘vital for safety’

2013-09-02 00:00

THE pumping of sand on Durban’s uShaka­ Beach is expected to be completed by the middle of the month, allowing beachgoers to once again enjoy the popular spot.

The eThekwini Municipality’s attempts to stop the erosion of the beaches has been criticised for its effect on marine life.

South Durban Community Environmental Alliance spokesperson Desmond Desai said the beaches stretching from uShaka to the north were badly flooded in 2007 and 2008 because the city ignored environmental advice on the pumping of sand.

Poor signage may have played a part last month when a metro police horse and his rider became trapped in the sinking sand but managed to escape.

Municipal spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng said the city was busy with maintenance and reconstruction of the North and Dairy piers.

“South Beach is not the only one going through a major rehabilitation. There are plans to rehabilitate and upgrade Brighton, Anstey’s and Treasure beach in the Bluff.”

The city’s deputy head of coastal stormwater and catchment management, Randeer Kasserchun, said the sand pumping scheme was vital.

He said about 300 000 cubic metres of sand were pumped to the beaches every year.

“The bypass scheme [using a dredger to collect the sand from south of the harbour southern breakwater and pumping onto the beach just north of the northern breakwater] is necessary due to the harbour preventing the northern longshore drift. The sand being pumped on Durban’s south beach region is merely the sand that is trapped on the south side of the harbour entrance,” he said.

Municipal senior manager of coastal engineering Godfrey Vella said beaches often require rehabilitation to prevent permanent disability of infrastructure.

“With the city in preparation for the Christmas season, its important to ensure that all beaches are safe. The uShaka beach was in a bad state. We have been on the site pumping the sand onto the beach for the past six weeks because the [Transnet] dredger is available. The dredger services a number of harbours throughout the country,” he said.

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