South Africa is home to a record number of 82 Blue Flag beaches – including Clifton 4th – but a study done by UCT’s health faculty shows that it contains elevated levels of E coli.
UPDATE: Cape beach warning is 'sensational'
The Cape Times reports Professor Edda Weimann did a comprehensive study of the world famous beach in 2013 and says she fears the situation "could be worse this year".
The study showed that water quality tested “between 10(4) and 10(6)”, which indicates the beach could be affected by waste water due to polluted rivers, major shipping routes or outlets of human settlements. Most at risk are small children and those with immune deficiencies.
Weimann describes the results as “frightening”, saying the situation is being completely ignored.
The Wildlife and Environmental Society of SA (Wessa) is responsible for managing the Blue Flag programme and governance manager Morgan Griffiths confirmed in the report that a test at the beach last week showed elevated levels of E coli.
While it could be seen as a blow to prestigious Blue flag status, Wessa did say a test two days later showed the situation had cleared up.
According to Mayco member for Health Benedicta van Minnen, the City is not directly responsible for the state of coastal waters but it is monitoring the situation every second week through sample sites set up at popular bathing spots along the False Bay and Atlantic coastlines.
Minnen said the water quality was "well within the allowable limits" and it was "safe for bathing”.
The Western Cape is the province that boasts the most Blue Flag sites, with 27 beaches being awarded full Blue Flag status and another five getting Pilot status. It is also home to five Blue Flag marinas and six whale watching boats
The Eastern Cape has nine beaches with full Blue Flag status and KZN 10.
Here's a full list of Blue Flag sites for this year:
City of Cape Town:
Stilbaai Wes (P)
Western Cape Marinas
False Bay Yacht Club
Granger Bay Water Bay
Western Cape Whale Watching Boats
Eastern Cape Beaches
Cape St Francis (P)
Nelson Mandela Metro
Eastern Cape Marinas
Royal Alfred Marina
Park Rynie (P)
Scottburgh Main (P)
Dodokweni North (P)
Dodokweni Main (P)
Umdloti Main (P)
Umdloti Tidal (P)
Umhlanga Main (P)