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For Shell, the writing’s on the beach

Free diver Jason Denny expresses his views using water hyacinth. Duncan Guy

Free diver Jason Denny expresses his views using water hyacinth. Duncan Guy

Published Dec 10, 2021

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APART from charcoal made at Shongweni Dam, not many uses have come up for the ubiquitous water hyacinth that is an invasive alien in KZN’s waterways.

However, the campaign against Shell exploring oil and natural gas off the Wild Coast, using loud explosions that activists believe will harm marine life, has found a new use for the plant.

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Two protesters at one of last weekend’s many protests, gathered sad-looking water hyacinth plants that had washed up on the beach next to Blue Lagoon and used it to write “FU SHELL” in the sand.

“It (water hyacinth washed up on the beach) is just as dreaded as Shell. It’s dead right now and that’s what’s going to happen to our environment when Shell does seismic exploration here,” Wilma van Niekerk, a free diver who frequently visits marine protected areas to dive, said on Sunday.

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“They are going to be endangered when they do the seismic survey.”

Free diver Wilma van Niekerk dreads the invasive alien water hyacinth as much as she dreads Shell carrying out seismic surveys on the Wild Coast. Duncan Guy
The writing’s on the beach at Blue Lagoon where protesters used water hyacinth to send out their message about Shell. Duncan Guy

With her was another free diver, Jason Denny, who feels for people who depend on the natural ecosystems.

“Think of the local communities that rely on fishing and eco-tourism. The Sardine Run is a massive eco-tourism feature on the Wild Coast. The seismic surveys will disrupt a lot of the natural mega- and micro-fauna.”

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The Independent on Saturday

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