Sunday the 2nd February is World Wetlands Day which commemorates the signing of a world-wide convention to protect wetlands. The Ramsar Convention was signed in 1971, in Iran, on the shores of the Caspian Sea. This day aims to raise awareness on the importance of wetlands.
Wetlands are one of the most biological diverse ecosystems but are also one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world.
There are a number of wetlands in and around Cape Town, however urban development has changed many of them. Many small wetlands have been drained or filled in, while others have become permanent lakes because they receive large volumes of water from storm-water drains, e.g. Zeekoevlei and Princessvlei. Wetlands are threatened by nearby developments, pollution, fertilisers, sewerage, stormwater run off and livestock manure. Read more.
Why are wetlands important?
• Wetlands improve the quality of water – they act like a natural filter
• Wetlands maintain a regular supply of water
• Wetlands provide a habitat for plants and animals
• Wetlands act as a great flood control
• Wetlands provide a beautiful place to enjoy nature
What can I do to help save wetlands?
One of our local wetlands, Princess Vlei is being threatened by developers who want to build a shopping mall. The local community and environmental groups are opposing this development because:
- Princess Vlei is the gateway to the wetland system that runs through Grassy Park, purifying the water before it runs into the sea.
- The Princess Vlei has a unique cultural and historical value.
- It is one of few natural areas accessible to people on the Cape Flats.
- It offers biodiversity and a critical wetland.
- The community has shown the kind of development it really wants in the People’s Plan .
- Local and Provincial government cannot ignore public opinion. The City is proposing to sell YOUR land and your children’s heritage to a private developer. Public space belongs to all of us.
- We don’t need another mall!
To find out more about what organisations and community groups are doing to help conserve wetlands, go to:
Here is a list of wetlands in Cape Town that you might like to visit:
- Rietvlei wetland reserve – Milnerton
- Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetland at Rondevlei, Cape Town
- Khayelitsha wetlands park (read more about it in one of our previous blog posts here)
- Eerste River Estuary, Maccassar
- Noordhoek Wetlands, Noordhoek
- Wildevoël Vlei, Kommetjie.
- Zandvlei, Muizenberg
- Zeekoevlei, Muizenberg
- Zoar Vlei, Milnerton/Paardeneiland
- Princess Vlei, Grassy Park
- Edith Stephens Wetland Park
Here is a link to a map of all the wetlands.