Spotlight on keeping Hout Bay clean

Organisations are working to keep the harbour clean by removing several bottles and plastics from the water.

The severity of the pollution in the area has forced the City to start discussions around how Hout Bay can clean up its act.

Talks will take place today (Friday October 14) at the Hout Bay Library, where concerned parties have been invited to participate in the Hout Bay Comprehensive Study.

Head of the City’s Catchment Stormwater and River Management department, Abdulla Parker, said the objective of this study was to “investigate and initiate current, short medium and long-term interventions” to mitigate pollution of the Hout Bay stormwater courses.

He added that talks have been ongoing since earlier this year, and that “ talks are progressing exceptionally well”.

Litter floating in the waters of the Hout Bay Harbour.

“It is envisaged that this study will be concluded in June 2023 and a number of ‘quick wins’ or current interventions have already been initiated/installed, with more ‘quick wins’ to be implemented soon,” Mr Parker said.

Among others, the study outline contextualises Hout Bay’s issues in terms of its location, the impact of Imizamo Yethu and the state of the Disa River.

It notes that the Disa River, has a catchment area of about 37km2, rising on the southern slopes of Table Mountain and flowing in a south to south westerly direction before being joined by the Baviaanskloof River and then discharging into Hout Bay.

Imizamo Yethu, on the slopes of the Constantiaberg mountains in the lower reach of the catchment, the study adds, is considered to be a contributor to the significant increase in pollutants entering the Hout Bay catchment watercourses and especially the main Hout Bay River system.

Run-offs running towards the Disa River is already polluted with household waste.

“Due to its location, on the slopes of the mountain, pollution such as sewage, grey water and litter conveyed by surface water run-off from the settlement finds its way down the slopes to the main road through Hout Bay. This pollution discharges across the Main Road intersection with Victoria Road at the circle,” Mr Parker said.

He explained that the overall effect of not addressing these concerns timeously was that the “environmental integrity of the river system, the beach and the bay will be destroyed”, leaving the the health of the surrounding community, tourism potential and economic at risk.

“The viability of the area will be (and is being) severely compromised,” Mr Parker said.

Local environmentalist, Kiara Toni, wrote in to Sentinel News complaining about the state of rivers and the impact of pollution on the eco system.

She called for “strict measures” to be implemented for those caught dumping and polluting the rivers.

“We are being way too lenient on those destroying nature, which plays a major part in us living. The rivers are filled with plastics, dirt is littered across river banks and we have animals choking and dying on things thrown in the river,” Ms Toni said.

She welcomed the decision to open talks on how best to protect the environment and stop pollution.

“It’s rather best to do it now before we having nothing left to protect,” Ms Toni said.

The Hout Bay Rivers Catchment Forum (HBRCF) has been working closely with the City to tackle the pollution problems around Hout Bay.

HBRCF chairman, Janssen Davies, said short-term interventions had already started showing some positive results.

“Now that the first short-term interventions have been implemented by the City, there are encouraging signs of life returning to the Hout Bay River and estuary,” Mr Davies said, adding that they are now excited to see what the results would be if further interventions were introduced.

The second feedback session of the Hout Bay Comprehensive Study will take place today (Friday October 14) at the Hout Bay Library, from 11.30am.

Dumping of grey water and sewerage leads to the rivers being highly polluted.