Qinirha estuary mouth management plan given green stamp of approval

GREEN LUNGS: Qinirha Estuary mouth. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Qinirha Estuary Management Forum (QEMF) is one step closer to securing preservation of the estuary and estuary mouth after the Eastern Cape Department of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism (DEDEAT) gave the forum’s estuary mouth maintenance plan the go-ahead on September 16.

This will enable the QEMF and BCMM to tackle the immediate threats of vandalism at pump stations, dumping, illegal hunting and fishing, and alien plant infestation in the estuary mouth.

Without a management plan, there would be a downward spiral in the ecological status of the estuary.

Submitted in November last year, the plan guarantees QEMF a spot on the coastal management committee of BCMM, which gives the public a voice regarding how the estuary is managed.

It also ensures that maintenance of the estuary becomes a budgetary priority at municipal level and provides the municipality with actions to be followed for effective estuary mouth maintenance.

This approval is valid for a period of 10 years, subject to review processes every five years and to parliamentary review.

QEMF executive member Stef Kriel said the forum welcomed the department’s approval of the plan.

“Ultimately, BCMM takes on the responsibility of managing the estuary, as set out in this plan, but it goes without saying that the forum will play an integral part.”

Scientist Dr Peter Fielding said estuary management plans were a statutory requirement and were important to develop and implement so that a balance could be struck between protecting the estuary while making it available to recreational use and economic development.

According to Fielding, BCM estuaries are at threat from pollution, over-exploitation of fish and severe drop in water quality.

Fielding said municipal sewerage infrastructure repair and maintenance plans must adhere to estuary management plans.

Fielding said: “Where court orders are achieved against local government they often seem to be ignored and there seems to be no way to enforce compliance. Often finance and capacity are the issue for local government.

“Civil society must engage cooperatively with local government to resolve the problems around managing our coastal environment by working with local municipalities to provide expertise, manpower and finance.

“Dean Knox of Jonginenge and his small band of concerned citizens have had some success in reducing sewage spills into the Ihlanza estuary on the Nahoon Beach using this approach.”


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