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Rand Water gets slack for embarking on herbicide spraying spree over Vaal River

VAAL TRIANGLE - In an attempt to try and rid the Vaal River of water lettuce and hyacinth, Rand Water started spraying the sewage-loving weeds on Tuesday with the herbicide glyphosate, however, this decision has sparked widespread disapproval.

This despite Rand Water’s assurance that it was acting in accordance with the approved general authorisation from the Department of Water and Sanitation, as well as with technical guidance from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, concerns persist over potential environmental and health impacts. Dr. Simone Dahms-Verster of Wits University warns, spraying glyphosate directly into a freshwater ecosystem is a terrible idea as it will have adverse effects on aquatic species.

Rand Water defends its approach, citing the herbicides used for this project, are set at a sub-lethal dose which are implemented with an integrated approach. Although biocontrol agents are already on the Vaal Barrage, Rand Water said additional biocontrol agents will be released on Thursday, 15 February, in the upper reaches of various stream inlets and elected areas between reed beds on the barrage.

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