ARE DURBAN BEACHES READY FOR BLUE FLAG APPROVAL?
By: Dale Munatswa
Great debates have risen as to whether Durban beaches are ready for a blue flag approval, while there are general underlying issues.
Blue flag status is awarded to beaches that meet international standards of excellence in water quality, environmental education, life guard training, safety, and other issues.
The city applied for the approval of its four beaches earlier this year, after four years. In these efforts there are concerns as to why the eThekwini Municipality is reaching for farfetched standards, when it cannot meet general standards of cleanliness at the beach.
The Municipality, along with Maintenance Department, Culture Parks and Recreation, claim that the beaches are clean and are ready for the Blue Flag approval.
Themba Ngcobo, head of Culture, Parks and Recreation said, “We are definitely ready for the blue flag approval, we have been implementing measures to ensure that we meet standards required for the approval.”
Lindile Mazibuko, a municipality maintenance worker said, “The beach is clean, we maintain it, and we have litter pickers and bins all around.”
However, it can be debated that the beach is not clean. Regular visitors to the beach experience a different state.
Themba Njiyala said, “Municipality is doing a good job but it has problems, you see just like here we are supposed to have bins as you see there are no bins here.”
Some people highlighted the dysfunction of the municipality in closing down ablutions, causing people to urinate wherever they deem suitable.
Another visitor to the beach, Sarah Seedat said, “All the people do their job here and they just careless, they live the children’s jobs and they are gone, and it’s very unhealthy, it’s not good. They have toilets here, but sometimes the toilets I don’t know why they lock them up.”
The eThekwini Municipality is then challenged to implement much effective means to counteract the basic issues of dirt and litter at the beach before the city tries to satisfy international standards for the Blue Flag approval.