So, when someone sends you an anonymous e-mail with the above subject line what would you do?
Of course I opened it and saw that it contained TWO links:
- One to a a scientific paper published on 2 April 2001 by OS Fatoki and S Mathabatha from the Department of Chemistry, University of Fort Hare, Alice 5700, South Africa titled; “An assessment of heavy metal pollution in the East London and Port Elizabeth harbours“
- And another to a Devon Koen article on Herald Live, titled; “Pollution threat to beach status“
Both precised below.
Nelson Mandela Bay’s renowned beaches could lose their blue flag status if nothing is done about water pollution and waste management along the coast and surrounding rivers, researchers have warned.
The Swartkops River has already been declared an unsafe source for subsistence fishing and the severe pollution entering the river from nearby canals is proving a major concern for communities and researchers.
Those living near the Swartkops River and feeder areas such as the Markman canal have reported serious health issues, while fish are being poisoned and supplies are dwindling.
This is according to NMMU academic researcher and zoology associate professor Professor Nadine Strydom.
Strydom and her colleagues at the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research recently published a report on the extent of traces of heavy metals in the Swartkops River.
Fatoki and Mathabatha reported:
At the Port Elizabeth harbour, Site 3 (near Quay 1) contained the highest levels of metals in samples. Levels of metals at this site in seawater varied between 1.0mg·l and 4.0mg·l for Cd, between 2.2mg·l and 11.3mg·l for Cu, between 6.9mg·l and 36.8mg·l for Fe, between 1.0 and 5.1 mg·l for Pb, between 4.2 mg·l and 21.7 mg·l for Mn and between 3.4 mg·l and 16.2mg·l for Zn. Levels of metals in sediments ranged from 0.3 to 1.4mg·g for Cd, from 45.9 to 92.5 mg·g for Cu, from 5 419 to 9 046 mg·g for Fe, from 29.5 to 61.9mg·g for Pb, from 183.0 to 441.0 mg·g for Mn and from 73.8 to 126.0 mg·g for Zn.
At the time of the study NO guidelines for metals in seawater and sediment had been promulgated.
In the 2001 study Fatoki and Mathabatha concluded:
The metal concentrations in water and sediments from East London and Port Elizabeth harbour, though low, are indicative of pollution from point sources in and around the harbour and from diffuse sources such as urban runoff. However, the results also indicate that the levels have not exceeded the limits. The situation calls for regular monitoring so that the safe limits are not exceeded due to increased activities at the ports.
We are now 16 years on and wonder if any additional studies have been done to determine what the levels are today – to our layman mind the Manganese levels do seem high and we can only assume have become much higher when we recognise that Transnet ‘slaughtered’ their budgeted Manganese Export targets by more than 50% this past financial year.
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