• Cape Town Tidal Pools

Update from the City of Cape Town: Cleaning Protocol

Dear All

In the last three days we have received hundreds of emails split between those that want completely cleaned tidal pools and those that want the pools left alone for nature.

We appreciate all the emails and concerns raised. The tidal pools are important recreational spaces that were built specifically for that purpose. Overtime they have also become a natural part of the marine inter tidal zone. The City no longer endorses the wholesale use of chemical products to clean tidal pools for the exact reason of avoiding and preventing negative impacts on our marine environment. However we also need to ensure that where possible walking surfaces that people use to access the tidal pools are cleaned to reduce the risk that they pose to users particularly slipping and falling. We have had a number of people that have reported falling or slipping in recent months.

Internally we have developed a cleaning protocol to work towards a set standard of social and environmental care that looks to meet both the needs of the users and their safety as well as our marine environment.

We are not of the view that our approach to tidal pools and their maintenance must be all about the environment or all about safety of users, but rather a healthy balance of meeting the needs of people and protecting our environmental resources.

In this regard chemicals are no longer used at the tidal pools but lime washing/painting of the top surface of some of the walls, steps and platforms is required. Marine growth is prolific and scraping the growth off only allows it to grow back immediately. Lime washing reduces this growth rate and keeps the surface area safer for walking for longer. If managed correctly and timed with spring low tides this lime washing/painting of surfaces will have very little impact on the marine life in and around the pools. On a pool by pool basis it will be determined which surfaces will be treated or left based on how each pool is used or accessed.

Some side walls were apparently lime washed yesterday and the contractor has been asked to revise his work to comply with the above. We will continue to amend and update the protocol to continuously work towards the best outcome for all aspects of the tidal pools so that they can be sued for recreation and retain their marine biodiversity

Best wishes


Gregg Oelofse

Manager: Coastal Management

7th Floor, 44 Wale Street, Cape Town, 8000

T + 27 21 487 2239



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