POISONOUS ALGAE IN RIVER

A visitor to the Vaal River looks at the pockets of blue algea that were spotted near the Stokkiesdraai and Vaal View area. This kind of algea, which usually thrives in water polluted by human and animal sewage, can apparently wreak havoc with the health of humans and animals once digested.

VANDERBIJLPARK. – The evolution of algae into toxic ‘blue’ algae on his Vaal riverside property has been reported by a prominent local developer who does not want to be named.
He says he has reported it to the Riverside Property Owners Association (RPOA), Save the Vaal Environment (SAVE), Rand Water and Sedibeng Disaster Management. He says SAVE in particular has done “fantastic work” and refers to a number of court cases SAVE has won against the Emfuleni Local Municipality (ELM) to the extent that some ELM officials have had to choose between rectification and actual jail time. He has had no luck getting his ‘blue’ algae attended to, however. “It is as venomous as a poisonous snake,” says the developer, “and 300 head of cattle are drinking from the same water nearby.”
“Soon the owner will be talking about 300 head of dead cattle,” he remarks. “As hard as SAVE and any other environmental organisation tries, as many laws and regulations exist, the river just continues to get worse and worse.” February 16 saw Sedibeng Disaster Management taking water-samples from the Vaal River in the immediate vicinity of the developer’s property. He is willing to bet the results will not be made public.
Sedibeng environmental officer Zies van Zyl referred Vaalweekblad to Rand Water officials and the Rand Water website, but stressed that establishing who is responsible for manifestations like blue algae was crucial. Once this was clear, being a complex issue that came up with the ‘fish kills’ of every year, the reasons for, and the source and impact of blue algae could be probed.
Van Zyl says the development of blue algae can be ascribed to factors as various as PH-levels, sunshine and downpours. What can be said is that blue algae tends to manifest as ‘pockets’. Establishing which body was directly responsible called for an enquiry to the national Department of Water Affairs, one complication being that water tends to flow to different places.
Source: vaalweekblad.com