One year ago on June 15th 2015, we posted a graphic report ‘City Stink Story’ which dealt with the shocking amount of raw (untreated) sewage being pumped into the ocean around Cape Town, with the full knowledge of the City of Cape Town municipality. Marine Conservation photographer Jean Tresfon, who initially took the photographs of the sewage plumes in the ocean as contained in last year’s report has this to say on any progress (or lack thereof!). This is a full year after the report was widely communicated through the media and various channels, leading to a number of investigative reports and comments from experts supporting the view that the problem is HUGE.
8th June 2016
The debate around the issue of untreated raw sewage being pumped into Cape Town’s oceans in truly astounding volumes has gone very quiet.
In this age of instant everything and information overload there is a tendency for things to slip from the public consciousness very quickly… Yesterday’s shock and outrage is forgotten by today, meaning those responsible for the problem only have to wait until the public’s attention shifts elsewhere. Meanwhile the oceans continue to bear the brunt of our stupidity and greed.
The sewage issue has been weighing on my mind again lately. It has been over a year since the City of Cape Town asked for comments from the public as part of the public participation process during its permit application to be allowed to continue discharging untreated effluent into our coastal waters and MPA’s. We have had no feedback or answers to our queries and objections, nor have we been advised as to whether or not the permit was granted and if so under what conditions.
To the best of my knowledge all that has been done by the City since then is the appointment of the CSIR to conduct a long term monitoring program as well as contracting a commercial diving company to clean the diffusers on the Green Point outfall (something that is supposed to be part of a regular maintenance program anyway).
Yesterday (7th June) I went for a long flight around the coast and once again was shocked at the sight of huge plumes of sewage bubbling to the surface from all three outfalls on the Atlantic Seaboard and drifting ashore with the prevailing wind and currents.
Those in charge deny there is a problem, say they have no alternatives and continue to ignore the public outcry with the hope that it will just quietly go away.
At what stage do we say enough? Do we wait until it’s so bad that the beaches are literally covered in sh*t? How appropriate that today (8th June) is World Oceans Day, a day to spare a thought about the importance of the oceans to the wellbeing of our planet…