Wetlands under the microscope

More than a billion people make a living from wetlands.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is conducting research aimed at protecting, enhancing and rehabilitating wetlands in South Africa.

Coinciding with World Wetlands Day celebrated yesterday, the CSIR said local wetlands were of concern and were important in the environmental, planning and the water sectors.

Thus, the CSIR is committed to conducting science that is crucial in properly understanding the link between wetlands and these sectors to ensure sustainability, as these sectors may have far reaching impacts on wetland ecosystems.

This year’s World Wetlands Day theme aims to help spread awareness about the importance of wetlands and to demonstrate the vital role they play in securing a future for humanity.

“A sound and defensible scientific base is needed to evaluate the significance of threats on wetlands and how to potentially limit or mitigate these threats,” said Leanie de Klerk, CSIR researcher specialising in aquatic ecotoxicology and limnology (inland waters).

“Sustainable development, utilisation and the management of wetlands is non-negotiable for improving the quality of life and human health in South Africa.”

According to the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of wetlands, more than a billion people make a living from wetlands.

Livelihoods from fishing, rice farming, travel, tourism, and water provision all depend on wetlands.

Wetlands, however, are currently under threat of over utilisation for short term benefits, thereby compromising their ability to sustain the provision of benefits for human beings and the environment in the future.

Unfortunately, wetlands are often viewed as a wasteland.

In South Africa, a considerable threat to the sustainability of wetlands is contamination through pollution.

The CSIR is working hard in ensuring the sustainability of wetlands in South Africa.

Along with the Water Research Commission, Coaltech and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi), the CSIR recently pooled together their resources and skills to rehabilitate a portion of the Zaalklapspruit Wetland in the Mpumalanga Province.

Source: citizen

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Recycling water through wetlands

Diverting bathroom pipes to a mini-wetland, he makes smelly grey-water hygienic enough for watering his 100 square metre vegetable garden.

South Africa has been in hot water lately as the worst drought since 1992 struck the country.

One Johannesburg resident has made it his mission to save water as much as he can.

Mr Alosha Lynov is passionate about saving water. He is currently recycling 200 litres daily at his three bedroom home.

Diverting bathroom pipes to a mini-wetland, he makes smelly grey-water hygienic enough for watering his 100 square metre vegetable garden.

The drought has resulted in reservoirs being close to empty and some stores even ran out of bottled water recently.

Joburg’s mayor, Clr Parks Tau, has asked residents to cut back on water consumption by recycling.

“Recycling water is not difficult. I started six years ago by bucketing out our bath water onto flowers and trees. When my back had enough of this, I created my first mini-wetland using specific water plants, such as bullrushes and lilies, to clean the grey water before spraying our vegetables. One of the tricks to maximising water retention in your garden is mulch. All my garden beds are covered with a thin layer of glass clippings, leaves or bark. Without this, you will triple your water usage,” said Mr Lynov.

Known as the water wizard, Mr Lynov learnt about wetland construction at the Okavanga Delta, Africa’s largest wetland, under the guidance of Mr John Todd, who is an ecological design expert.

He studied indoor wetland creation from Mr Mike Reynolds at Earthships in New Mexico. Last year, he received certification for permaculture design from globally acclaimed permaculture teacher Mr Geoff Lawton. Over the past six years, Mr Lynov has constructed seven wetlands of various sizes across South Africa.

Source: tembisan

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