Izinyoka blamed for sewer spills into Nahoon Estuary
After failing to respond to questions and concerns over the dangers facing the Nahoon Estuary in our article on July 2, Sewage spills into Nahoon Estuary, Buffalo City Metro Municipality has finally cleared the air over the Nahoon Estuary Management Plan that was approved in 2016 by the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism in the Eastern Cape.
The Plan was developed and published together with concerned Nahoon stakeholders acting in terms of section 34 and 53 of National Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act, 2008 (Act No. 24 of 2008).
“The Nahoon Estuary Management Plan and nominations to formulate an inter-governmental steering committee have been adopted by Council. As a result, the Unit responsible for this has started with the formation of the coastal management committee which will look at issues faced by both the Nahoon Estuary and Buffalo River,” said Samkelo Ngwenya, spokesperson for BCM.
The plan was promulgated in the provincial gazette in 2016 containing a range of actions that address invasions by a large number of species and the daily sewage spills that have endangered the Nahoon beach and its rivers. Recently, Nahoon stakeholders have set up a constitutioned management forum that seeks to hold the Metro legally responsible for the dangers that face the Estuary. In our article last week Chris Theart, chairperson of the forum who has been an activist of the Estuary since 2012 had claimed that they have tried to get the attention of BCM to implement the plan, but there had been no reaction.
Ngwenya says the Metro is aware of the spillages to the Nahoon Estuary and that this is mainly due to illegal electricity connections by the informal settlements around the two pump stations in Cambridge Location. “Due to the failure of these pumps, the sewage over-flows to the Nahoon river which ends up at the Estuary. The municipality disconnects illegal connections periodically; however, the Electrical Transformer is damaged in one pump station, we are waiting for its supply soon, which would stop the spillage from one pump station at the moment,” he promised.
The Estuary is a unique biodiversity that needs protection with 202 bird species and 24 fish species. Poor water quality compromises their livelihood.
Buffalo City Metro is conducting raids for disconnections around these pump stations every Friday.
While this is playing some role in assisting with sewage spillages, the underlying causes of the illegal connections are both a criminal and socio economic issue, for which solutions are beyond the municipal responsibility.
However, Theart argues that electricity issues in Cambridge Location have nothing to do with the sewer spills in the Nahoon Estuary, but he is hopeful about these developments.