Approximately 100 big black trash bags of litter and refuse are currently being collected each week all along the shore of the Knysna Estuary by two Working for the Coast teams. Unfortunately, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ current funding cycle ends this month, and new funding will not become available until November 2018 at the earliest.
The impact on the estuary will be severe unless someone steps in to bridge the gap. Much of the litter and refuse will inevitably end up in the estuary, fouling beaches and creating a growing unsightly mess all along the shore. Even nearby Blue Flag ocean beaches are likely to be affected by flotsam and jetsam that flows out through the Heads and is then carried by ocean currents and dumped along our coastline. Can we really afford to allow this to happen to our estuary, which attracts tourists to Knysna from all over South Africa and the world? After all, tourism is the core component of our local economy, and the Knysna Estuary is the beating heart of tourism.
Most of this litter and refuse is generated by Knysna residents who live above and along our catchments and culverts. All that land falls within the jurisdiction of Knysna Municipality. It is clear that Knysna Municipality has primary responsibility to intervene and bridge this six-month gap, either with funding, reassignment of teams to the Community Work Programme, or using some other creative approach. There will be a holy mess along our shores and in our estuary if nothing is done.
Consider the implications, with the upcoming Knysna Oyster Festival starting 28 June 2018!