Friends on Zandvlei was established to combat the loss of habitat due to pollution after watching their wetland die before their eyes.
Muizenberg, South Africa (22 October 2020) – Over the last two years, the Marina da Gama and Zandvlei have suffered from sewage spillage and excessive pollution. A group and trust were formed in the hopes of combatting the issues and raising awareness.
Friends on Zandvlei are a loosely knit group of people who have reached the point where they can no longer sit back and watch the destruction of the Zandvleil wetland.
Gregory Higgins reached out to share the story of the wetland and how he and his community are fighting to save and restore the wetland.
“We are not scientists but this is what we have witnessed happen over the last 2 years.
We have watched the swallows disappear.
We have watched the coots leave our waterways.
The dabchicks are gone.
We no longer see the schools of small fish around the edges of Marina da Gama waterways.
The frogs no longer make their way up the banks into our pools.
The waterweed, which is the life support system of the vlei is pretty much gone.
The spiders are gone.
We had somewhere between 15 and 18 sewage spills into the Vlei last year.
As Zandvlei is one of very few wetlands that feeds fish into the sea, it simply cannot be allowed to die.”
The community refuses to allow the area to die off without doing everything in their power to fix it.
“We are incredibly concerned about the sewage spills as well as the secrecy around who is responsible and what is being done to sort out the problem.
Not only is the sewerage a problem but the amount of plastic and garbage that is making its way into the Vlei is beyond words.”
One community member, Mike Ryder, took it upon himself, in conjunction with other concerned Marina residents, to place nets into the canals to try and stop some of the garbage from entering the vlei. A grid system was placed into the canal to stop garbage flowing into the vlei and to catch the heavy items that come down the canal like double beds, carpets, tyres, tv sets and car parts, etc.
Friends of Zandvlei are growing frustrated as nobody is willing to claim responsibility for the area. Until this is done, they cannot properly conserve the area. While public participation is great, they need the municipality to step up and help.
“We are doing everything we can to stop the garbage with the help from the Zandvlei Nature Reserve. They have very little capacity so when they are not able to clean the garbage it flows straight into Zandvlei.
We are appealing to anybody who can help in any way to team up with us. If we all do a little we can achieve a lot.
Marina da Gama and Zandvlei are very close to becoming a sewage farm.
The waterweed is the filtration system of the wetland, it is pretty much non-existent and even a small sewage spill has the potential to create ecological havoc.
We are appealing to all to do anything you can think of that might help. We have major problems with people dumping into the canals. If someone could take it upon themselves to keep just one of those sites clean. Let’s work together with the community. It could make an amazing difference. Filling one bag of garbage could change everything. Let’s get out there and do something.”