Members of the public, school children and environmentalists have embarked on a clean-up of the Rondevlei Nature Reserve in Cape Town. This is ahead of World Wetlands Day on Sunday.
The Reserve is among the most important wetlands for birds in South Africa and a number of vital breeding sites are located here.
The Rondevlei Nature reserve is rich in biodiversity; unique, indigenous plant life and over 200 bird species, including pelicans, ducks and herons are found here. Like wetlands the world over, it faces serious challenges.
Helen Lockhart from the Two Oceans Aquarium urban development is one of the biggest threats to wetlands.
“Things like pollution, very much so, cause the drainage of wetlands and then just general devastation. They’re seen as dumping areas as well, but I would say that urban development is one of the biggest threats and it’s very difficult to balance the needs of a growing city with the open spaces and wetlands trying to protect; and do the right thing on both sides.”
Rondevlei forms part of the False Bay Ecology Park, which is an internationally declared protected wetland and home to Cape Town’s only hippo population. The clean-up forms part of efforts to keep wetlands and waterways free of plastic.
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato says 80% of the stuff they pick up is plastic.
“80% of all the stuff we pick up is plastic so plastic is a major problem; a major issue. At the end of the day, I’m very pleased with the Rondevlei Nature Reserve management for this initiative, it’s part of my own drive as Mayor of Cape Town visiting many communities picking up dirt, educate them with regard to cleaner environment. I think that’s very important.”
The public has heeded the call to keep the wetland clean.
Wetlands play an important role in filtering water and preventing erosion, but they are also important spaces for scientific research and recreational activities.
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