tbaberosion

 

The problem of coastal dune erosion along the west coast is a priority for the three spheres of government who are “working towards” solving it.
Yet, one of the biggest reasons for dune erosion – the removal of kelp by the city – remains ongoing.
Removing kelp from beaches quickens the process of dune erosion, as can be seen in the state of “dunes” in Melkbosstrand.
To compound matters, collectors who remove kelp and deliver it to feed abalone on farms, have been removing too much of it.
Chairperson of Melkbosstrand Ratepayers Association, John Taylor, elaborates: “When kelp normally washes up, some of it is pushed right up towards the dunes. This protective kelp layer then acts as a harbour breakwater would. It stabilises the dune and assists with vegetation re-establishement.”
In fact, Melkbosstrand is aiming to qualify as a Blue Flag beach, and for that a certain amount of kelp should be removed.
Whilst the City of Cape Town removes kelp from a few beaches as a service delivery function, this removal is limited to those beaches that are subjected to high recreational use and no longer function as natural systems.
Permits for collectors to remove kelp from designated beaches are issued by the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).
During Taylor’s correspondence with the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP), he was told the matter of kelp removal has been taken to the Provincial Coastal Committee (PCC) where all three spheres of government are working together to solve the problem of coastal erosion.
Over the years collectors have also been harvesting beyond the kelp removal zones, such as the beach between 1st and 5th Avenue in this coastal town.
Not only have they ignored warnings and removed kelp illegally, in the process they’ve damaged infrastructure in the residential area.
One resident states in a letter to DAFF: “During an incident in December last year the kelp removal truck drove on the pedestrian pathway between 1st and 5th Avenues. Collectors dragged kelp over a lawn in all directions. The lawn is being irrigated at taxpayers cost and at this rate there will be no lawn left to irrigate. They should be held accountable… but since they get away with it they continue as they please.”
Odwa Dubula from DAFF responded, saying the collectors were acting unlawfully.
Kishan Sankar from DEA&DP adds:
“Please report any transgressions as they occur. Transgressions can be reported to Clement Arendse at carendse@environment.gov.za and Odwa Dubula from DAFF at OdwaD@daff.gov.za). Please copy the Coastal Management Unit into correspondence relating to these matters to coastal.enquiries@westerncape.gov.za.”
***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. IT MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

 

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