THE Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality needs R5.4-million to rehabilitate Port Elizabeth’s heavily polluted North End Lake for it to be suitable for recreational use.
Four years after the lake underwent a major clean-up for the 2010 soccer World Cup, it has been neglected to such an extent that it has been declared unsafe for recreational activities.
Bay economic development, tourism and agriculture head Anele Qaba said the main pollution source was organic waste from illegal connections of sewers to storm water conduits.
In a report to the portfolio committee, which met on Tuesday, Qaba said: “A number of studies have emphasised the urgent need to improve North End Lake’s very poor water quality to fully realise its socio-economic worth and environmental value.
“The current high bacterial levels make the water unsafe for full and intermediate contact recreational activities.
“In spite of the potential health risks, the lake is well used for aquatic sports such as powerboating, canoeing and angling.”
He said there was no significant industrial pollution detected in the water quality tests.
The municipality needed the R5.4-million to clean up the lake so it could be used for sports.
“With the advent of an improved water quality, it is intended that a number of watersport codes will return to or use the North End Lake areas.
“With this, [we] anticipate safety and security in the lake area will become paramount to ensure the success of the [lake] rehabilitation in the long run.
“Sporting codes [which] have expressed interest are running, cycling, sailing, powerboating, open-water swimming, triathlons, canoeing and rowing.”
The municipality hopes to have the lake operational by the end of July 2016. – Rochelle de Kock