From The Independent of South Africa:
Cocktail of pollutants poisoned vlei
December 30 2006 at 10:56AM
A lethal build-up of nutrients poisoned the heart of the sensitive Rietvlei lagoon this week when thousands of fish, crabs and other marine life died after an alarming drop in oxygen levels in the estuary.
Described by locals as an ecological disaster, the stench of dying fish and rotting crabs this week wafted over residential areas around the vlei.
Volunteers gathered more than 60 tons of dead fish and by late Friday hundreds of thousands of small crabs lay dying along the beaches at the mouth of the lagoon.
Environmental experts and volunteers have collected samples of water and marine life. All water sports have been suspended by the authorities.
Cocktail of pollutants
City of Cape Town spokesperson Pieter Cronje said a cocktail of pollutants, which had washed down the stormwater pipes over many year, had finally reached critical levels in the vlei this week, sparking the disaster.
There were many rumours as to the cause of the disaster with some fingers pointing to a possible chemical spill at the nearby Chevron Refinery.
Andy Birkenshaw, environmental officer of the Table View Ratepayers’ Association, was particularly concerned that toxic chemicals used in the manufacture of lead replacement fuel might have landed in the vlei causing the death of marine life.