Knysna lagoon clean-up in pipeline

2012-11-19 11:36
Knysna - The Knysna Municipality has devised a multimillion-rand five-year plan to reduce pollution in the Knysna Lagoon, according to Knysna Municipal Manager, Lauren Waring.

Tourism Update reports that the plan is in response to consistently high counts of E. Coli that have been measured during monthly testing of the lagoon.

Waring said the Knysna Municipal Section 80 Committee for Planning Development and Infrastructure had recommended that its council committed, in principle, to allocate at least R38,3-million over the next five years towards the permanent reduction of pollution into the lagoon. Waring is also the chairperson of the Knysna Estuary Pollution Control Task Committee, established in August 2011 to investigate pollution in the estuary.

"Up to now the high levels of pollution have not caused irreparable ecological damage to the estuary because of the ocean tides that wash vast amounts of seawater into the lagoon at the Knysna River mouth, better known as the Knysna Heads, flushing much of the pollution out twice a day," said Waring. However, she added that the situation remains unacceptable and should not be considered anything less than serious.

Other recommendations in the report include an investigation into the possible relocation of the Knysna Waste Water Treatment Works after 2020, a call for proposals for the cleaning of fat traps in the Knysna CBD, and that a mandate be given to the municipal administration to apply for further funding from the national Departments of Human Settlements, Water Affairs and Environmental Affairs as well as any other available sources of funding for lagoon-related projects.

"Items in the five-year plan should ideally be tackled sooner rather than later and, in most cases, can start as soon as relevant funding becomes available. When the major projects in the current and five-year projects have been implemented, the Knysna Municipality is confident that pollution levels throughout the lagoon will return to within acceptable levels set out by the Department of Water Affairs," continued Waring.

She added that the projects are expected to be a welcome boost for job creation, as they will provide permanent or temporary employment of staff and long and short term contractors.

The report will be submitted to the Knysna Mayoral Committee later this month and is expected to go to council at the end of the month.

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