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Critically endangered eco system and wildlife sanctuary, Rietvlei Nature Reserve, soon to be in environmental distress. Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Pretoria, Gauteng, has been a conservation area since 1929 and provides city dwellers the opportunity to experience nature as well as provide 15% of Pretoria’s water. The reserve enables people to view and appreciate animals in a natural habitat, without spending a large amount of money or traveling far from the city.

The City of Tshwane owned reserve can be seen as an abundance of the plant and animal kingdom, offering protection of water systems, vegetation, animals, and birds. The reserve hosts several of species listed at CITES Appendix 1 (threatened with extinction) such as the white rhino, cheetah and leopard, not forgetting the smaller Endangered creatures like the Ground hedgehog.

Why is this important?

Brick-making company; Corobrik is currently threatening the sustainability and safety of this Pretoria paradise by submitting their application for the mining of coal in the area. Corobrik are opportunists, jumping on the coal mining bandwagon since the demand for clay bricks is dwindling in favour of Cement bricks.

The mining of coal in the Rietvlei Area will have a disastrous impact on the environment and can cause irreparable damage. Coal mining, being a fossil fuel, has been proven to elevate carbon dioxide emissions thus fueling climate change causing “Extreme weather events in the form of drought, floods and wildfires that increasingly pose a risk to the health, well-being and safety of people.” (- President Cyril Ramaphosa, SoNA, 9 February 2023, Cape Town City Hall.)

Apart from the global impact of Climate change, coal mining also causes air, water, and soil pollution caused by the release of Sulphur dioxide in the air, acidifying the water and releasing heavy metals into the soil. The effects of coal mining pollution are clear in arid landscapes which once were lush and green with natural life and especially experienced daily by local communities through increased noise levels, respiratory health issues caused by black dust, and even the cracking and damaging of buildings.

As human beings it is our responsibility to protect animals. This harmonious relationship will most certainly be threatened with an increased risk of Poaching. In the past, Rietvlei had 4 lions of which all 4 were poached and killed. Poaching will become a bigger risk to the Reserve as the lack of employment opportunities at the mine can resort to criminal activities to sustain communities. While the north is moving away from coal, Corobrik is racing towards coal mining.

We must stand together to protect Rietvlei Nature Reserve, keeping the wildlife and eco system thereof safe and say NO to Corobrik and their coal mining!
14 Game Reserve Ave, Rietvallei 377-Jr, Pretoria, 0181, South Africa

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2024-02-08 11:30:53 +0200

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