Stay away from toxic Noordhoek vlei, City of Cape Town warns

2018-01-23 05:35
(File, David Vincent, AP)

(File, David Vincent, AP)

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Cape Town - Residents and visitors to Cape Town must avoid contact with the Wildevoelvlei in the Noordhoek Valley because of elevated toxin levels due to algae, the City of Cape Town's environmental health department said on Monday.

"The public is urged to avoid all contact with the water at the vlei and in the outlet channel leading to the sea, and discharging on a section of Noordhoek Beach," said the City’s acting mayoral committee member for Area South, Councillor Suzette Little.

"Dog-walkers should ensure that their pets remain on a leash and prevent them from drinking the water."

The warning comes as recent monitoring and laboratory tests confirmed the presence of blue-green algal toxins known as "Cyanophyceae".

The city explained that the algal population at the wetland, situated south of central Cape Town, increased dramatically during the warm summer months.

People and animals should not touch the water. Additionally, the harvesting, sale and consumption of shellfish from the rocky outcrops near the outlet to the sea (Klein Slangkop on Noordhoek Beach) is not advised, because it is unfit for human consumption.

"Please don't go to the vlei or harvest and consume shellfish from this area," said Little.

Exposure to the algae can cause eye irritation, skin rashes, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhoea, and cold- or flu-like symptoms.

"Drinking or swallowing large amounts of contaminated water can be extremely dangerous," Little warned.

Anyone who comes into direct contact with it should wash immediately with clean water and seek medical advice straight away if any symptoms persist.

Warning signs were being erected around the affected area, and would be removed when the vlei was clear of potential health risks.

The algal blooms look green, blue-green, white, or like brown foam, scum or mats floating on the surface of the water.

For further information on the matter, contact the City’s Lakeside Environmental Health Office on 021 444 1653.

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Read more on:    cape town  |  health

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