Municipality lifts swimming ban

DURBAN – The eThekwini municipality has given swimming at Durban’s beachfront the green light after heavy rains late last month prompted the city to issue a bathing ban.

The city issued the health warning last week after flooding of its sewerage system.

The city said the sewage posed a health risk because of high levels of bacteria, and advised people to avoid swimming at beaches near river mouths, in river water and in storm water drains.

However, on Sunday the acting head of the city’s health unit, Dr Ayo Olowolagba, said the weather had stabilised and no adverse results had been noticed through continuous efforts. “We are less worried about the risk,” he said.

Olowolagba said the city’s pipe-borne water was safe for drinking. However, he warned that using water from rivers or any other open source could not be considered safe for drinking unless such water was made safe by boiling and/or using bleach in the recommended measure.

“The municipality is continuously monitoring the situation,” he said.

Meanwhile, to accommodate the large volumes of waste generated during the Cop17 conference and the festive season, the municipality has put together a comprehensive cleaning programme.

Municipal spokesman, Thabo Mofokeng, said Durban Solid Waste (DSW) had increased the number of bins in all areas and had employed additional staff and extended the working hours to three shifts.

The programme would focus on areas from the inner city to the beachfront, operating a 24-hour service. “Street sweepers are deployed in all major routes and will be operating in the CBD and beachfront areas.

“In addition, high-pressure washers will be in operation during the night on the beachfront, CBD, Warwick Avenue and outlying areas,” he said.

There will also be quick response teams comprising a driver and six staff on standby to react to complaints that may be of a sensitive nature or require urgent attention.