First-Hand Evidence Shows Environmental Department Misleading Public About “Treated” Sewage in Cape Town Oceans

Yesterday, I kayaked from Three Anchor Bay to the exit point of the Green Point sewage outfall, where I found islands of floating sewage, as well as sanitary pads, tampons and condoms.

The exit point of the Green Point sewage outfall is impossible to miss as hundreds of seagulls gather on top of it, eating the floating excrement.  The sight of islands of slimy, brown sewage floating in the ocean, with seagulls all around and a seal playing nearby, is absolutely heart-breaking.

Kayakers reported that some of the sewage had, that morning, drifted into Granger Bay.

This first-hand experience confirms Stellenbosch University’s epidemiologist Dr Jo Barnes’ statement that the discharged effluent is untreated.  Barnes recently confirmed to the Sunday Weekend Argus that the only “pre-treatment” applied to the raw sewage is the removal of large objects such as plastic bags and baby nappies.  Even this “screening” process is ineffective, as evidenced by the presence of sanitary pads, tampons, condoms and ear buds floating in the water.

ActionSA therefore refutes the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s statement that the effluent discharged is not raw sewage but “preliminary treated sewage”.  This term is purely designed to mislead the public.

ActionSA awaits the outcome of our appeals against the permits granted to the City of Cape Town which allow it to continue pumping raw sewage into the ocean for another five (5) years.

Any permit granted by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s must ensure that, within the shortest possible time, the City of Cape Town establishes the infrastructure necessary to process the sewage so that all harmful elements, including chemicals, toxins and hormones, are removed before the remaining water is discharged into the sea.

Should our appeal against the granting of the permits be unsuccessful, ActionSA will consider the necessary legal steps to protect residents’ health, the environment and the tourism economy.