'Pollution in our marine environment at trace levels'

Recent research argues that the Western Cape oceans are polluted by pharmaceutical and industrial chemical compounds. and it is affecting fish and sea life.

Kieno Kammies talks to Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for water and waste services for the City of Cape Town, about whether its systems are coping with increased volumes of waste that are allegedly ending up in our oceans causing pollution.

RELATED: Kalk Bay fish 'contaminated by pharmaceutical compounds'

This debate is an important one to have and residents need to be provided with factual information both for peace of mind and to mitigate the damage of that research on small scale fishermen mentioned.

Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for water and waste services - City of Cape Town

She says the City, as well as external scientific agencies such as CSIR, have conducted their own testing.

It shows that the concentration of pollution in our marine environment is what we term at trace levels., meaning you would need to consume about 147,000 kgs of snoek or 60,000 whole snoek at a single sitting in order to ingest the equivalent of one Dicloflam tablet as an example.

Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for water and waste services - City of Cape Town

Fish such as snoek also migrate and so will eat food from areas further afield than just the Cape waters, she adds.

Limberg agrees however that as long as humans continue to use the over 84,000 synthetic chemicals in common use, it will end up in our water.

No conventional wastewater treatment plant in the world can remove all those compounds from effluent.

Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for water and waste services - City of Cape Town

The City is always upgrading the plants, she notes.

The City is concerned with the issue of ocean pollution and contamination, she insists.

The City of Cape Town believes like the rest of the international scientific community that further research into the long-term effects of chemicals on our health is necessary.

Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for water and waste services - City of Cape Town

The City has, therefore, stepped up the scale of research, she says.

Listen to the interview below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'Pollution in our marine environment at trace levels'


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