AfriForum concerned over tardy reaction to water lettuce crisis

The water lettuce that grows in the Vaal River system poses a serious threat to the ecological balance of the river. AfriForum calls on the Department of Water and Sanitation as well as the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment to take immediate action.

In a letter to these departments, AfriForum warns that the uncontrolled spreading of water lettuce has several adverse consequences for water quality, biodiversity and the overall health of the aquatic ecosystem. “The Vaal River system is vital for millions of people and if the integrity of this system is compromised it could be catastrophic for us,” says Lambert de Klerk, manager of Environmental Affairs at AfriForum.

“It is worrying that none of these departments have officially said anything about the water lettuce or even indicated that an action plan will be proposed to solve this problem. We see how people who live along the river have already started to remove the water lettuce themselves as there has not yet been a word from the government about this issue,” adds De Klerk.

The organisation says that immediate and effective action must be taken to eradicate this plague of water lettuce. “There must be a joint effort between the government, environmental organisations and local communities to implement effective control measures.”

AfriForum is ready to take independent steps to resolve this issue should the departments not act quickly and comprehensively. The organisation requests information on the measures that the relevant departments will put in place to not only solve this issue, but also to ensure the long-term health of the Vaal River system.

“We believe that the conservation of our natural resources is a joint responsibility and we commit ourselves to ensuring the health and sustainability of the Vaal River system. We are prepared to get involved and participate in initiatives that will promote the sustainable management of our water resources in general,” concludes De Klerk.

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