Cape Town - The fauna and flora of the Lotus River is at risk for constant contamination and pollution as litter from communities flow into it.
It is for this reason the Friends of Zeekoevlei and Rondevlei (FOZR) gathered together to carry out a clean up, in order to protect its natural habitat and environment.
Three truckloads of litter which contained tyres, televisions, complete toilet sets and heaps of plastics were removed from the river.
Sidney Jacobs, chairman of FOZR has been rallying for the protection and conservation of the river.
“The litter flows in from all areas along the catchment which includes the airport, Gugulethu, Hanover Park, Lotus River,” he said.
“This is obviously very detrimental to our amazing flora and fauna in the area and needs to be stopped at the source whilst we continue to work together with all our great partners in removing it from the Zeekoevlei area.”
Jacobs said people from all walks of life assisted in cleaning the river which can be an educational venue for children.
“We had representatives from the City of Cape Town, their contractors, surrounding areas and a very special group of 31 touring school children from the town of Rehoboth in Namibia.
“They were so excited to be assisting us in saving our environment, as the Jacana Lodge worked out as the perfect venue to have this operation.
“The huge support that we get from everyone in the Western Cape really makes our efforts worthwhile to save our beautiful vlei.”
Hasanain Abdullah, Project Manager of National Awqaf Foundation, said the organisation strived to safeguard the fauna and flora.
“Friends of Zeekoevlei and Rondevlei (FOZR), an apolitical, community based non-profit organisation is world renowned for its dedication to the preservation and protection of local ecosystems,” she said.
Abdullah explained the large amount of litter flowing into the rivers wreaks havoc on the delicate ecosystem.
She said various infrastructures had been put in place to curb dumping.
“While efforts have been made to mitigate the problem by implementing litter fences, these preventive measures can only capture a portion of the debris,” she added.
“Unfortunately, a considerable volume of litter has already infiltrated the ecosystem, posing a severe threat to the local flora and fauna.”
Jacobs added the goal was to preserve nature by continuous education and awareness: “Together, we can significantly impact the restoration of this vital waterway and ensure the protection of the diverse wildlife that relies on it.”
On July 1, the City of Cape Town said the next financial year they have committed R17 million for the acquisition of a weed harvester for Rietvlei.
An additional amount of R49 million over the next three financial years for the lowering of the Zeekoevlei weir, to allow a greater draw down of water to assist in improving water quality.
The directorate’s capital budget for the next three financial years amounts to over R1,2 billion with the rehabilitation of coastal facilities and vlei’s.