Concerns over wetland dumping

PHOTO: supplied Dumped material and debris near a wetland in Shelly Beach.
PHOTO: supplied Dumped material and debris near a wetland in Shelly Beach.

A PROPERTY owner in Shelly Beach is allegedly dumping building material and other debris on a site encompassing a stream on its foot.

While the vicinity is private, concerns have been raised about the environmental implications of the nearby wetland and it’s ecosystems.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesperson Musa Mntambo said damages to this wetland caused by the dumping could be detrimental to its wild life.

“Wetlands provide support to the ecosystem.There are animals and plants that only survive in wetlands and its surroundings.These animals and plants in return support other species that may not necessarily be living inside the wetland but are found within wetlands like certain types of birds and snakes,” said Mntambo.

“Dumping next to or inside the wetland may introduce excess nutrients that may end up negatively impacting on the species that are found within that wetland.It may also results in introduction of certain gases that will destroy the vegetation within that wetland and this finally lead to the wetland unable to absorb water during rainy season,” said Mntambo.

Spokesperson for WESSA Catherine Ritchie said the organisation was unable to confirm that the dumping affected the wetland in particular at this point.

“While this certainly does appear to be illegal dumping, unfortunately, my only colleague available today to comment on this particular issue is not available,” said Ritchie.

The property owner admitted she was dumping rubble and inviting the public to dump on the area because she wanted to level it to be able to build on it. She said she allowed only the dumping of sand, stone and builders rubble.

“I always tell the people dumping as well that no gardening material, plastic or any other material is allowed, only building material,” she said adding that as far as she was aware, the nearby wetland was not affected. Ray Nkonyeni spokesperson Simon April said all property owners were required to conduct environmental studies before undertaking any developments on properties close to wetlands.

“The municipality’s town planning by-laws direct applicants to conduct environmental studies to be undertaken prior to commencement of any land use rights applied for. This includes wetland delineation studies should there be wetlands within the properties,” said April.

“It must, however, be noted that wetlands as an environmental issue is regulated through national environmental legislation as well as the Water Act,” he said.

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