The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) will lead a R7-million water quality testing project, titled ‘Improving Ocean Governance in the Benguela Current Large Marine Econsystem’ (BCLME III) in the Swartkops area, in Port Elizabeth.
The project is being implemented by the Benguela Current Convention (BCC) Secretariat, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, which will be funded by the Global Environment Facility and BCC parties.
The DEA will be working in association with the national departments of Water and Sanitation and Agriculture, Forestry and Fishes, as well as the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan municipality.
The project will run for three years.
BCLME III has implemented demonstration projects in each of the three BCC countries – South Africa, Angola and Namibia.
South Africa’s water quality testing project is investigating the causes and impacts of impaired water quality on the living marine resources and associated dependent communities, to develop or improve national standards and guidelines for water quality maintenance.
The identified project site, in Swartkops, was selected for investigation owing to the maricultural operations in the area, including mussel and oyster farming and the commercial harvesting of seaweed and wild mussels.
The DEA stated on Friday that a number of primary sources of pollutants are affecting the marine ecosystem around South Africa and also potentially impacting on the users of the coastal and marine environment.
Some of the main sources of pollution come from sewage and effluents from municipalities and other effluent and pollutant discharges from a