Staff get down and dirty to clean wetlands which surround GrandWest

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The volunteers that cleaned up the wetland. PHOTO: Jo Sekepane
The volunteers that cleaned up the wetland. PHOTO: Jo Sekepane

Staff from GrandWest volunteered to clean up the six wetlands on the property to improve the quality of the water that sustains a wide range of species.

The clean-up took place on Friday 9 December focusing on the biggest of the wetlands.

The volunteers removed vegetation that was restricting the water flow.

Alien vegetation, including Port Jackson, overgrown Typhoo wetland grasses, and bull rushes were uprooted.

According to Thumeka Siwela, safety health and environmental officer at Grandwest, a lot of invasive species have grown onto the wetlands ever since they experienced drought, and water levels dropped.

Ongoing project

“This year I decided to start this project. It is an ongoing project to rehabilitate all the wetlands until we get the wetlands back into a good state. Once in a good state, the area will be open to the public where people can come and relax and have a view of the wetlands. Most bird species left during the drought, but we see them coming back,” Siwela said.

The wetlands are now home to a range of wildlife which breeds there.

On Friday 9 December only one side of the wetland was cleaned, as a kick-off to the ongoing project.

The wetlands are now home to a range of wildlife that breed there. PHOTO: Jo Sekepane
Volunteers busy cleaning up.PHOTO: Jo Sekepane

“We only had a few hours here because we must return to our work stations. A toal of 37 staff members voluntarily came to clean up,” Siwela said.

When the complex first opened in 2000, waterlogged areas on the property regularly overflowed into the already compromised Elsies River, further detrimentally affecting the quality of the water.

The development team suggested building wetlands to address the problem. Today, dotted around the 56-hectare property, mostly out of sight from the casino, the wetlands offer an indigenous home to many species of birdlife.

Environmental responsibility

“GrandWest Casino is committed to advocating for sustainability, protection, and conservation of natural resources within the business environment,” said Mervyn Naidoo, general manager for GrandWest.

“As a good corporate citizen, GrandWest has a commitment towards environmental responsibility and raising awareness about environmental concerns.”

The waste collected from the wetland during the clean-up.PHOTO: Jo Sekepane

This event, themed Wetlands Action for People and Nature, highlighted two United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, namely Clean Water and Sanitation and Climate Action.

“The result of the rehabilitation day will be an improved, and purer, flow of water and a safe and sheltered wetland habitat for feathered friends which include Cape Sparrow, Cape Weaver, Pied Crow and many more,” Naidoo said.

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