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Milnerton Lagoon Beach is being eroded by steady pollution

The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said the department was aware of this matter. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said the department was aware of this matter. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jun 18, 2021

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Cape Town - The Milnerton Central Residents Association has invited Premier Alan Winde for a “dive” at the Milnerton Lagoon Beach, to witness the ongoing pollution of the lagoon.

The association said, despite weeks of complaints to the City, starting in April on, the worsening pollution – with the Milnerton Lagoon remaining “a stinking cloudy grey brown” – requests for the water results on the hundreds of thousands of litres of effluent, allegedly discharged through Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Works sluice gates last month, remain unanswered.

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The association’s head of environmental Caroline Marx said the residents wanted to share the challenges they currently faced in the Table Bay Nature Reserve, which the Lagoon is part of, with the premier.

“Normally, this would be a very pleasant experience – paddling past plentiful bird life and other wildlife, such as otters and water mongooses. However, after months of steadily improving water quality with the welcome return of fish, birds and wildlife to Milnerton Lagoon, the catastrophic deterioration of the water quality from April has been shocking and hugely disappointing – with the Lagoon water again turning cloudy grey and stinking.

“Even the scavenging seagulls are dying or being treated for Avian Botulism (associated with dirty polluted water),” said Marx.

She said the refusal of City management and officials to take responsibility for the ongoing pollution, by formal City infrastructure together with an apparent inability to effectively address this, had shattered the resident’s confidence.

“Marx said a possible criminal complaint, for contravention of the environmental laws, was considered – given the ongoing current pollution and the apparent inability of the City to resolve the problems.

“These are not once-off incidents, but the results of years of mismanagement – together with a culture of non accountability, where truth is conveniently denied. The Department of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning is responsible for ensuring the terms of the directive are complied with by the City and applying penalties if they are not,” she said.

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The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said the department was aware of this matter and has been attending to it. She said City teams were out along different parts of the catchment doing inspections

Limberg said investigations into the cause of reports of sudden deterioration in water quality were still being investigated. However, she said there was a spike in sewer overflows and general stormwater pollution entering the vlei, from surrounding areas, last week.

Winde’s spokesperson Cayla Murray said the premiers office received the invite from the association and it was being processed.

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