The eThekwini Municipality is once again reminding Durban residents that all beaches north of the Umgeni River up to the Tongaat River, remain closed.
In a statement released by the municipality’s spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela, on Thursday, he said that authorities are appealing to the public to refrain from any beach activities until it is deemed safe.
The beaches have been closed since July, following the chemical spill that occurred during the unrest when a chemical warehouse in Cornubia was set alight.
Mayisela added that it received the results of initial samples taken on Thursday, and the professional specialist team employed by UPL have advised the city that beaches should remain closed.
According to Mayisela, authorities closed the beaches as a precautionary measure as they did not know how far the spill spread, what chemicals flowed into the sea, and what effect it would have on human health.
“A second set of test samples were taken last week and the results are due back on Friday. Authorities will reassess the temporary closure of the beaches and related activities. Samples to test the water and sediments to determine the toxicity of the water continue to be taken,” said Mayisela.
He added that the municipality regrets any inconvenience caused, but emphasised that public safety is of the utmost importance and requests that the public be patient and comply with requests from authorities.
Mayisela added that the spill also contaminated the Ohlanga River and Umhlanga Estuary which leads to the sea in the Umhlanga area.
“The water in Ohlanga River and Umhlanga Estuary is deemed toxic due the chemicals in the system and is therefore not safe for any use.
“Fences have been erected and guards have been placed in the vicinity of the estuary to ensure that the public do not enter the area. The public are urged to obey the instruction of the officials and guards,” said Mayisela
“The public is advised to refrain from all recreational beach activities, including fishing or surfing, swimming, bait collection and picking up of dead species.
“Collecting or harvesting of any marine living resource in the area is temporarily prohibited as they could have been exposed to toxic chemicals and could be harmful to human health.
“This warning and temporary closure of beaches remains in place until there is no threat to human health and safety,” said Mayisela.