The Zwartkops Conservancy is campaigning to have the Zwartkops River estuary declared a Ramsar international wetland; this will be the first such wetland in South Africa situated within an urban area, and the first initiated by the public as opposed to government; the national Dept of Environmental Affairs is giving the application its full support.

The area proposed for the wetland includes the estuary and river as far up as the old drift at Perseverance, as well as Pond 6 and adjacent areas.

It is absolutely essential that every effort is made to return the River to as pristine a condition as possible; and it is possible; if we had responsible government and responsible policing of the public and industry, we could do it quite easily; one of the benefits of Ramsar status is that international pressure can be brought to bear on government to ensure it carries out its responsibilities.

However, there are many steps to be negotiated before we can even submit an application to Ramsar headquarters in Switzerland.

These include having the proposed area declared a “protected area”; in essence, having the existing Zwartkops Nature Reserve extended to cover the proposed wetland site; and gaining the consent of all landowners in the proposed area.

We have much to do!

The proposed Ramsar area