Kalk Bay fish 'contaminated by pharmaceutical compounds'

Scientists from the University of the Western Cape’s chemistry department have found that fish caught by small scale commercial fishers in Kalk Bay is contaminated by antibiotics, pain killers, antiretrovirals, disinfectants, and industrial chemicals.

University of Western Cape senior professor Leslie Petrik says she is sure that any fish caught now could be containing chemical compounds.

She says the whole Western Cape area is polluted by pharmaceutical and industrial chemical compounds.

Read: Dead bodies, syringes and condoms - the ugly truth about pollution in CPT rivers

The reason why our fish has those compounds is that our sewage is full of those compounds. We have tested our sewage from waste treatment plants and those compound are present in the effluent because we using it in the city.

Leslie Petrik, Senior professor - University of the Western Cape

The sewage plants are not able to take those compounds out of the water so they are released by the effluents into the bay.

Leslie Petrik, Senior professor - University of the Western Cape

They tested the sewage because it is obvious that chemical compounds will not be washed off by stormwater, says Petrik.

The city is growing but our sewage plants have not been expanded to take care of the amount of effluents discharged into them.

Leslie Petrik, Senior professor - University of the Western Cape

We buy far more chemicals than our grandparents and our parents did and for all kinds of purposes. We basically have to stop our love affair with chemicals and don't use drugs unless we really have to because these things are polluting the oceans.

Leslie Petrik, Senior professor - University of the Western Cape

To hear the rest of the conversation, listen below:


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