More eThekwini beaches reopened following high E. coli levels

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The eThekwini Metro Municipality says it has reopened more beaches following tests confirming improved water quality.

Several of the Metro’s beaches have been closed over the past six weeks because of high E. coli levels normally associated with sewage.

Beaches that are now open for swimming include Laguna Beach, Country Club Beach, Battery Beach, South Beach, eThekwini Beach, Addington Beach and Point Beach.

Municipal spokesperson Musa Mayisela says beaches that are still closed will reopen soon.

“As we pointed out earlier on that we’ll continue to monitor the quality of water and because what is the priority to us is the safety of the public. So it is based on the tests that have been conducted that we have taken a decision again, to open more beaches . This is a clear demonstration that our city is open for business so we’re inviting anyone to come and enjoy our beaches. So we’ll again continue to monitor the quality of water until all our beaches are open,” says Mayisela.

In January 2022, several Durban beaches closed due to the high levels of E. coli:

Meanwhile, hotels, lodges and guest houses in Umhlanga, north of Durban, say the closure of popular beaches is costing them millions of rand in revenue.

The tourism sector in the province is counting on a bumper December period to recover from COVID-19, two major floods and the July unrest last year.

Umhlanga Tourism Association chairperson Duncan Heafield says some people are cancelling their bookings as they cannot utilise the beach.

“There’s a detriment of flow of accommodation decline of almost 100 bookings a day cancelled overseas, especially coming up to the holiday periods now. The estimate almost a million rand a day that’s in during the non-peak season that’s cancelled in terms of people not coming to Umhlanga. During the busy peak season it estimates up to R10 million a day in lost revenue for the businesses of Umhlanga and the community of this KZN City,” says Heafield.

One of the luxury hotels that’s been affected is the Oysterbox in Umhlanga. Oysterbox general manager of sales, Sally Gray says some people are postponing their bookings since they cannot enjoy the ocean.

“Most people that come to Durban are coming to Durban for the sea, the warm Indian Ocean currents. People are phoning and saying I’d like to come to Durban, I’ve heard that there is a problem in the ocean. Can we swim?  And of course we have to say no unfortunately the beaches are closed at the moment and there then what we get as people saying well we would rather postpone our holiday and come when we can swim in the ocean. So we have cancellations, so people will cancel but most people will postpone to when its open. We can’t afford to have another December without being able to swim in the ocean,” says Gray.