Petition launched to stem pollution at Zandvlei Nature Reserve
Cape Town - Marina Da Gama residents and surrounding areas have started a petition demanding that Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg meet the communities using the Zandvlei Nature Reserve over its deteriorating state.
The residents said the vlei was in a desperate state caused by litter and weed together with the stench caused by sewage spills, rotting weed and detritus. They also said the water was becoming deoxygenated, killing fish and other water life.
In the petition, the residents requested, among other things, a written undertaking outlining the short-term achievable actions of the City to protect Zandvlei from future sewage and industrial spills, plans that will be implemented to effectively resolve the silting and sedimentation problem and confirmation that a contract for the clearing of the canals will be finalised before the end of the month and be renewed on an annual basis.
The residents also demanded a clear explanation as to why the existing harvester has been inoperative for several months for what is believed to be a minor repair.
Concerned resident and author of the petition Charles Whaley said the vlei was supposedly managed according to the Zandvlei Estuary Management Plan, which he said had failed in meeting many of its objectives.
He said the City has displayed a lack of transparency and responsiveness to requests by residents for engagements and information on the state of the vlei and potential solutions
“There has been growing concern among residents of Marina da Gama as well as among users of the vlei in general. But whenever we complained, or pointed out that there was something amiss with the water quality, we would be told that the water quality was ’acceptable’,” he said.
Whaley said for the past few years the City has openly accepted that sewage leaks present a serious problem but there was no effective barrier or defence protecting Zandvlei from pollution spills from the local industrial estates and the out-of-control illegal tipping/dumping of every type of waste.
The City said while some of its urban river catchments were in a relatively good or near-natural state, six catchments faced serious challenges.
“Overall, the data shows that we have a long way to go to achieve our goal of being a water-sensitive city. Where the report has revealed areas of concern, the City commits to full transparency as to possible causes that need to be addressed from within the administration,” it said.
The City said it was preparing a formal and a detailed response to the petition.