Photo Jay Caboz
St James tidal pool is home to both swimmers and vibrant rock pool life. It has been cleaned in an environmentally friendly manner since 2016.
  • By the end of 2020, all Cape Town tidal pools will be cleaned using eco-friendly methods – primarily using high pressure hoses and chalk paint.
  • The pools are not only used by Capetonian swimmers, but also provide a refuge for fish, shy octopuses, and striking purple nudibranchs.
  • Despite several of the pools lying on the boundaries of Marine Protected Areas, they were sometimes cleaned using harmful chemicals.
  • Then local free diver Lisa Beasley got involved. 
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

By the end of 2020, all tidal pools managed by the City of Cape Town will be cleaned using eco-friendly methods – primarily high-pressure hoses and chalk paint.

“Across the City we are working towards more environmentally sensitive practises and tidal pools have a wealth of marine biodiversity that resides within them,” said alderman Marian Nieuwoudt, the City’s mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment.

The new methods come after a pilot project spearheaded by local free diver Lisa Beasley, the founder of Cape Town Tidal Pools, which has been experimenting with eco-friendly cleaning methods on four tidal pools along the False Bay coastline – Dalebrook, St James, Kalk Bay and Wooleys – since 2016.

Photo Jay Caboz
Lisa Beasley. Photo Jay Caboz.

The pools are not only used by Capetonian swimmers but also provide a refuge for schools of fish, shy octopuses, and her favourite a striking purple nudibranchs, Beasley said.

Then there are the humans.

“The Cape Town pools have got quite a quirky community and so many different communities. That’s what I love about them. You can get a completely different spread of demographics at individual pools and even between weekends and during the week,” said Beasley.

Photo Jay Caboz
St James tidal pool. Photo Jay Caboz.

It was her goal to see the pools cleaned without using harmful chemicals or draining them, as was standard, despite many of them being on the boundaries of Marine Protected Areas. 

“On the 28th of June 2018, we excitedly gathered at Dalebrook Pool to witness the first clean, and the results were impressive. Since then the pump has been used to clean St James, Dalebrook, Kalk Bay and Wooley’s pools, and the outcome has been exactly what we’d hoped for. The tops of the walls are much less slippery and the ecosystems in the pools are flourishing,” said Beasley.

Photo Jay Caboz
Lisa Beasley at the St James tidal pool. Photo Jay Caboz.

The intention is to clean the pools using only such high-pressure hoses, on spring low tide every 28 days, along with coating the walls in chalk paint, made from environmentally friendly limestone.


Photo Jay Caboz
By the end of 2020, the City of Cape Town says all tidal pools it manages will be cleaned using eco-friendly methods. Photo Jay Caboz.

Each pool is expected to get its own detailed cleaning protocol as well as an emergency response protocol in the event of a pollution incident such as oil or sewage spills – which will be the only time the city will consider using chemicals to clean it up.

Photo Jay Caboz
Cold water freediver Lisa Beasley. Photo Jay Caboz.

The city added that individualising the treatment of the tidal pool would be more expensive than the current approach – but will also create more work opportunities.

“The cleaning of tidal pools requires significant effort regardless of the method,” said Nieuwoudt.

Each tidal pool will make the transition once their current existing contracts expire.

Cape Town lists 20 tidal pool facilities across the Western Cape:

Camps Bay Tidal Pool - Victoria Road, Camps Bay

Dalebrook Tidal Pool - Off Main Road, Dalebrook

Glencairn Tidal Pool - Glencairn Beach, Glencairn

Graaff Tidal Pool - Sea Point Beach Front, Beach Road, Sea Point

Harmony Park Tidal Pool - Jan Bruin Street, Strand

Kalk Bay 1 Tidal Pool - Off Main Road, Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay 2 Tidal Pool - Off Main Road, Kalk Bay

Maiden's Cove 1 Tidal Pool - Off Victoria Road, Camps Bay

Maiden's Cove 2 Tidal Pool - Off Victoria Road, Camps Bay

Milton Tidal Pool - Off Beach Road, Sea Point

Monwabisi Tidal Pool - Off Baden Powell Drive, Khayelitsha

Saunders' Rock Tidal Pool - Sea Point Promenade, Beach Road, Sea Point

Shelley Point Tidal Pool - M6, Glencairn

Silwerstroom Tidal Pool - Silwerstroom Resort, off Westcoast Road, Silwerstroom

Soetwater 1 Tidal Pool - Lighthouse Road, Kommetjie

Soetwater 2 Tidal Pool- Lighthouse Road, Kommetjie

Sparks Tidal Pool - Clarence Drive, R44, Gordon’s Bay

St James Tidal Pool - Main Road, St James

Strand Tidal Pool - Beach Road, Strand

Wooley's Tidal Pool - Off Main Road, Glencairn, Kalk Bay

Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: