Aquatic specialists estimate that 90% of aquatic life in some areas of the Vaal has been eliminated due to pollution.

Scientists have presented shocking research to the Human Rights Commission at the inquiry into the state of the Vaal River.

Aquatic specialists Russel Tate and Simone Liefferink told the commission that by their estimates, thousands of fish have been killed in the Vaal Rivier after what they deem an “acute toxic incident” in June this year.

They believe the deaths are linked to high levels of un-ionised ammonia in the water coupled with low levels of oxygen.

Both of these readings, they say, are indicative of a large scale sewerage spill. They conducted research at various points along the river and say only around 61kms from the Vaal Barrage was an improvement in water quality noticeable.

The Federation of Sustainable Environment earlier told the Commission that they are aware of between 10 and 12 thousand sewerage spills a year. This is despite the R350 million given to local municipalities by the department of water and sanitation for maintenance and operational costs.

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