State of Ihlanza River causes fears for surfing event

Concerns that a polluted, “evil smelling” Ihlanza River which flows into the sea at Nahoon Beach could scupper the SSA (Surfing South Africa) Mercedes SA Senior and Masters Championships have been allayed by Buffalo City Metro, which is hosting the competition.

MIXED SIGNALS: This sign was lying on the sand at Nahoon Corner yesterday but BCM said there had been no beach closures. Picture: SUPPLIED

BCM spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya did not provide details of Ihlanza’s contamination, but conceded that “blockages had occurred”.

He said the problem had been attended to and that river monitoring would continue.

Yesterday a “Beach Closed” sign was spotted lying on the sand at Nahoon Corner, but Ngwenya said the municipality had not issued any instruction for beach closures.

Multiple SA surf champion Wayne Monk, who is the current SA Grand Masters champ, said Nahoon Beach had been closed on Monday and Tuesday this week.

However any pollution emanating from the Ihlanza River, commonly known as the “Turdy”, would be blown in the direction of Bonza Bay and should not affect competitors at Nahoon Reef.

A post on the Save Nahoon Facebook described the “nasty inflow” as what appeared to be “a toxic mix of grey water and sewage”, triggering a discussion on the site about the possible source of the problem.

Tirsa Eason referred to the Ihlanza as “really pongy”.

The urban river flows beneath Vincent Park, through a series of storm water culverts and drains before popping up near Chamberlain Road in Berea, past Berea Gardens and Hudson Park High, under the North East Expressway, down near Roslin and Galway roads in Stirling and Nahoon and into the Indian Ocean near the lifesavers’ shack.

The Dispatch recently received a letter from a reader expressing concern about the state of the “Turdy”, saying it had been full of sewage and that he was worried this would affect next week’s surf event.

Ngwenya said the problem had been attended to and that river monitoring would continue.

He said beach water quality was monitored by the scientific services department for public health risks and that “all affected beaches currently meet recommended limits”.

“This is a flagship event for sport tourism and our ambitions to position the city as a sport destination.” — with additional reporting by Mike Loewe.


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