It’s not toilet paper – yesterday’s government report was correct in that dried sea lettuce is what we’re witnessing on the shores of the Knysna Estuary. What was improper and unscientific in the report released by the Knysna Pollution Action Committee (SANParks, Knysna Municipality, Eden District Municipality and the Knysna Basin Project) was the exclusion of pollution as a possible cause.
Yes, naturally induced “hydrogen and phosphate levels in the water which led to last year’s red tide” is a possibility but so can it be from the nitrogen released from the fertilization of lawns and golf courses (of which there are three nearby). Additionally, our tar roads prevent rainwater from being filtered by the earth. Instead, it gathers pollutants from our streets and runs off into the Knysna Estuary. Septic tanks are another cause so it’d be interesting to know if this seaweed bloom (also called a green tide) happened in Sedgefield’s Swartvlei Estuary too. Furthermore, Knysna Municipality has still not told us where the polluted wastewater was removed too.
The report also never mentioned that it happened last year too. Kingfisher Creek, on Leisure Isle, was covered in a thick green and purple carpet (as seen in the photo above). Surely that was more likely from the red tide than now, many months later?
I experienced an asphyxiating hike north of Coney Glen in January 2014. I never realised that the red tide was releasing toxic gas as it bashed dead sea matter against the rocks. Since then, my chest has worsened but the past month has been particularly bad – could it be from gases released by the sea lettuce? Hydrogen sulfide smells a lot like sewage and is dangerous to inhale. Consider hiking in the forests for a while.