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Interventions to protect estuary health

Multiple interventions to protect the Knysna estuary’s ecological health are underway by authorities including SANParks, the Knysna Municipality, the Garden Route District Municipality and the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA).

Most samples taken this year indicate the main challenges lie in the Bongani catchment and Ashmead channel. The most recent samples taken indicate that the Long Street culvert is also non-complaint and this has prompted further investigations into the cause of pollution.

E.coli levels in effluent exiting the WWTW have improved over the past few months and are now compliant, but the amount of ammonia and suspended solids in the effluent remains a concern. The Municipality will soon introduce cameras to assist in identifying pollutants entering the waste water treatment works (WWTW) in an effort to trace the times and sources of pollution events that might affect the WWTW functionality . The Municipality has indicated planned upgrades at the WWTW in September which will enhance the workings of the system.

The Garden Route District Municipality has reported oysters tested prior to the Knysna Oyster Festival were compliant according to the Foodstuffs.Cosmetics and Disinfectant Act 1972(Act 54 of 1972). Deepwater samples taken by SANParks in the estuary ahead of the recreational events of the Oyster Festival also indicated that the estuarine area was safe for use.

Speaking about the progress of the Action Pollution Committee, Park Manager for Knysna, Megan Taplin says ‘we are especially encouraged by the multiple interventions to further improve the health of the estuary. Monitoring done by the Knysna Basin Project is focusing on nutrient analysis of estuary samples as well as tributaries to the estuary so we get a bigger picture of what is entering the estuary.’

More work to try and identify sources of pollution includes a recently held workshop focusing on the Industrial Area by authorities.

All sample results are uploaded on the Knysna Municipality’s official website.

Media can contact Nandi Mgwadlamba, 078 702 9663, nandi.mgwadlamba@sanparks.org

Issued by SANParks


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