[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Durban fish kill time, again
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Wed Dec 31 04:27:02 GMT 2008
(A storm - not the first of the season - is the best mechanism to
'first-flush' the Isipingo catchment of its oxygen-denying waste?
There's something fishy about these stories in which Durban bureaucrats
blame nature for 'natural disasters' on this scale.)
Downpour to blame for poor water oxygen levels
Storm decimates estuary fish
December 31, 2008 Edition 1
Wendy Jasson da Costa
Hundreds of fish have died in the Isipingo estuary outside Durban after
this weekend's thunderstorm.
Yesterday, swollen fish, some with bulging eyes and bellies which had
burst open, were floating on the surface of the water.
Residents like Rabia Khan, whose home is on the bank of the estuary,
said she could no longer stand the smell of rotting fish, and criticised
the municipality for taking its time to clean up the area.
"On Sunday evening they were jumping out of the water and moving towards
the edge. They were swollen and couldn't get oxygen," said Khan.
She said the fish usually died on this scale at least twice a year.
Mano Chetty, who also lives on the banks of the water, said this was the
worst fish kill in 10 years.
He said that after the storm the water in the estuary had risen and run
on to his property, where dead fish could still be seen stuck in the
He had informed the municipality of the problem early on Monday, but
they had only arrived yesterday afternoon.
The fish, mainly grunter, were tangled in the mangroves together with
packets, beer bottles and even plastic containers which had been thrown
in the water.
Neville Pather, who regularly fishes in the area, said: "This place is
neglected . . . our tax money is going to the wrong places."
Desmond D'Sa, of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, said
it was clear that the fish had been deprived of oxygen.
He said the eThekwini Municipality's water department had taken samples
to determine what had killed the fish.
In a statement yesterday, the municipality said the major reason for the
fish deaths was the "depressed oxygen levels from poor quality 'first
flush' run-off from the catchment area".
The manager of the municipality's pollution and environment branch,
Chris Fennemore, said the run-off would have improved in quality, and
the flushing out of the water hyacinth had also remedied the situation.
The dead fish would be sent to a landfill, he said.
In December last year a sewage leak into the Umhlatuzana River resulted
in a massive fish kill in Durban Harbour.
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