Participatory monitoring and evaluation of marine water quality, a case study of Sappi Saiccor, Umkomaas.
McPherson, Mamosa Eileen.
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Previously, issues concerning the use and conservation of the natural resources were restricted to certain groups of individuals, normally those considered to be scientific experts. However with the emergence of sustainable development and the adoption of its principles therein, there has been increased community concern over environmental quality issues resulting in pressure for transparency in environmental decision-making processes. The result has been a dramatic expansion in the number of organisations at the local, national and global scales committed to environmental improvement. This in turn has let to dramatic changes in the role of the public in decisions relating to natural resource management. Participatory development is now acknowledged as critical in achieving sound environmental management. The initiation of community-based environmental decision-making has led to the formation of new and interesting partnerships. Environmentalists, communities, policy makers and business people have begun to work together in an attempt to find consensus concernIng environmental problems and related socio-economic inequalities. This has resulted in the development of new ways of integrating local and scientific knowledge systems. This thesis illustrates community-based environmental decision-making in the management of the use of the south coast of Durban. It outlines a partnership, through the formation of the Permit Advisory Panel (PAP), comprising industry (Sappi Saiccor), government, through its Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, environmental organisations, and the local people in the monitoring of the impacts of effluent produced by the industry and disposed of into the sea. The aim of this thesis is to develop an alternative methodology that will be acceptable to all stakeholders, for the collection and analysis of data in the monitoring of the Sappi Saiccor effluent. This was achieved through the following objectives: to develop a methodology for the collection and analysis of data, to assess the performance of the new pipeline in terms of reduced aesthetic impacts of the effluent, to assess the role of local knowledge in the monitoring process, and finally to assess the role of this study in the functioning of the PAP. This thesis attempts to integrate qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The subjective local data collected by the divers is analysed using statistical methods to assess the impacts of the effluent on marine water quality and the effect the new pipeline has had in reducing these impacts. Qualitative surveys such as questionnaires and interviews were administered to assess the role of local knowledge in the monitoring process and also to assess the role this study has had in the functioning of the PAP. The statistical analysis did not reveal any major improvement in underwater visibility since the pipeline was extended. There is a 6% and 4% improvement in the number of effluent days and visibility respectively. This however is due to some limitations inherent in the data collection process, and as a result the improvement brought about by the pipeline extension has been toned down. An effluent and visibility index is therefore recommended as an alternative method of data collection and analysis to reduce the level of inaccuracy. The role of local knowledge is perceived by many of the PAP members as vital in the monitoring process. This study was therefore thought of as an important step in validating this local knowledge such that it can be a reliable data source to be used in the monitoring process. It also played an important role in resolving the conflict between the PAP members. It is therefore recommended that the divers data should be continually used in the monitoring process, though the divers have to be more actively involved. The PAP is therefore tasked with liasing with the community members, especially the divers such that they can assume a more active and responsible role within the PAP. They should be involved in the development of the methods of data collection and analysis.