In case you haven’t heard the news – the Drakensberg wetlands are under threat. This comes with a R1 billion plan to reroute the N3 highway from Van Reenen to De Beer’s Pass.
Grand Plans for the N3 Highway
SANRAL has earmarked the rerouting of the N3 highway through the life-giving marsh with the hopes of reducing the travel time between Johannesburg and Durban. But at the expense of who? The wetlands won’t be the only ones taking a knock – that’s for sure. Fellow South Africans, like you, will also bear the brunt.
How the Wetlands Help South Africa
Since as early as we can remember, it seems wetlands in general have gotten a bad rep as scary, fog-ridden swamps that house monsters like the Locness. We can thank horror movies for that. In reality, these water-saturated masses of lands play more of a positive (environmentally sustaining) role than the films care to admit – otherwise, who would watch them, right?
A Mini-Ecology Lesson on Wetlands
Wetlands are essentially like a giant sponge that suck up excess water in the environment and then release it slowly as it’s needed – like during dry periods. They are also very necessary in slowing down the flow of rivers and, thus, help prevent soil erosion and water filtration (as there is less suspended sediment). The wetlands’ water-retention activity prevents flooding, as well.
The shallow waters also play host to a wide range of plant and animal life, giving them an ideal environment for survival. Plant life in the wetlands plays a huge role in water purification as well, ensuring that there is ample fresh water available for consumption and other basic human and animal needs.
Apart from these glaringly positive facts, South Africa is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world…
Take a Stand for the Drakensberg Wetlands
This is something that the whole country should be willing to get its feet wet over. After all that the wetlands does for us, we can’t just sit back and let a highway – with all the environmental hazards it brings with it, like spillages, smog and litter – run through like a forsaken land.
That’s why we’re working on an online petition so you can get involved and have your voice heard.