Probe into Vaal River clean-up method

The Ministers of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, and Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, have noted public concerns related to the use of chemical, glyphosate, to clear alien invasive plants from the Vaal River by Rand Water.

‘Following the complaints in the public domain, the two Ministers and other relevant parties met and agreed to determine whether the clearing methods followed were in line with the regulatory environment and to devise a future plan that ensures that the clearing of the alien invasive plants is done in a manner that poses no harm to the environment,’ a joint statement by the two departments said on Saturday.

Once that process is concluded, the departments will issue a further statement on the way forward.

Rand Water provides bulk potable water to more than 11 million people in Gauteng, parts of Mpumalanga, the Free State and the North West.

According to media reports, the Vaal River has become overrun with water lettuce, which is a poisonous and highly invasiv
e free-floating freshwater weed that is found in water bodies and slow-moving waterways in warm regions.

The water lettuce reportedly forms dense mats that clog waterways making boating, fishing, and other water activities, impossible.

These mats also degrade water quality by blocking the air-water interface and greatly reducing oxygen levels, which can result in fish die-off and the overall reduction of aquatic fauna and flora diversity.

Source: South African Government News Agency