Use of glyphosate against water lettuce in Vaal River stopped

Henry

The water lettuce on parts of the Vaal River will now be sprayed with another poison, rather than the controversial glyphosate.

Following concerns about the use of glyphosate, a task force was appointed by Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, and Senzo Mchunu, Minister of Water and Sanitation, to come up with other proposals to address the situation in the short and long term. management.

Among other things, it was decided that a different herbicide, which is registered with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, should be used to spray the water lettuce with. Spraying with glyphosate has been suspended.

“In the medium term, compliance and enforcement interventions will be intensified against the sources of pollution that drive this situation. In the long term, the Vaal River Catchment Strategy regarding invasive alien aquatic species will be reviewed in order to implement a strategy that will address the situation holistically.”

According to the ministers, the renovation of the Rietspruit, Sebokeng and Leeukuil wastewater treatment works will also be accelerated to reduce pollution in the Vaal River system.

According to the ministers, several control strategies, which can be applied simultaneously, are being investigated by the task force.

WaterCAN, an advocate of water conservation and safety, previously expressed its deep concern about the use of glyphosate.

“To spray glyphosate directly into a freshwater ecosystem is a terribly bad idea,” said Dr. Simone Dahms-Verster, lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Geography, said. “The effects of glyphosate can cause reactive oxygen species and gene mutations in various aquatic species. I can’t believe that it has been approved and is going to be implemented.”

WaterCAN believes a multi-level approach is needed to tackle the water lettuce and hyacinth infestation in the Vaal River.

“One of the critical components of this approach is to prevent the sewage pollution that flows from Emfuleni – and other surrounding municipalities – into the river. The nitrates found in sewage serve as a fuel for the rapid growth of water lettuce.

“By limiting sewage pollution at the source we can mitigate the influx of nutrients that exacerbate the spread of invasive aquatic plants.”