Southern Africa

Global Programme of Action Fact Sheets
Southern Africa
Hard facts and figures for Angola do not exist but as a result of the civil war, large
numbers of people moved to cities and towns like Luanda, Benguela and Lobito. Thus
discharges to the coastal zone are thought to have increased markedly.
In Namibia, sewage pollution is not a major concern as population densities at the
coast are relatively low and some wastewaters are re-used to, for example, water golf
South Africa treats a great deal of its wastewater to various levels. However,
untreated sewage does enter the marine environment via informal settlements and is
cause for some concern in larger coastal cites like Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and
Contaminated storm-water run off is considered the major cause of any noncompliance to bathing quality standards.
The report notes that extensive fish processing in places like Walvis Bay and Luderitz
Namibia as well as on South Africa’s west coast, for example Saldanha Bay do
discharge nutrients to the marine environment with the levels linked to levels of fish
Persistent Organic Pollutants
Hard data does not exist. It is thought however that the Orange River in Namibia
which drains from South Africa’s large agricultural areas could be a major source of
pesticides into the marine environment.
Heavy Metals and Oils
Angola’s refineries and oil production facilities from Luanda northwards may be a
source of heavy metals and oil pollution to the marine environment.
South Africa’s extensive oil, wood pulp, aluminium smelters, chemical and textile
industries are likely sources of heavy metals and oils to the marine environment from
cities and towns like Cape Town, Mossel Bay, Durban and Richards Bay.
Not considered a problem in Angola and Namibia. Research is underway to
understand the impacts of sediments entering the marine environment as a result of
dams and land use changes in South Africa.
Coastal and Marine Litter
No hard data exists but it is believed that the large increase in South Africa’s coastal
population—including informal settlements with little or no formal rubbish collection
services--over the past decade will have markedly increased levels triggered by stormwater run off.
In Namibia, the main source of litter is from foreign fishing fleets anchored outside
ports like Walvis Bay.
Physical Alteration and Destruction of Habitats
Coastal destruction in Namibia is largely linked with diamond mining between
Luderitz and the mouth of the Orange river.
South Africa’s historical industrial activity was largely confined to the interior but is
now spreading to the coast.
Special Issues—Reduced River Flows
South Africa has over 300 dams with a capacity of more than 32,000 million cubic
metres of water a year—equal to nearly 70 per cent of the surface water run off.
A survey of 27 South African estuaries showed that six were declining in health.