Monday, November 17, 2008

Cradle of Humankind in Danger?

The South African Star has reported on a problem affecting the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, which includes the Sterkfontein hominid cave site:

As gold mines on the West Rand have stopped operating, the water table has returned to pre-mining levels, but since 2002 more than 15 megalitres of contaminated water has been flowing out, or decanting, onto the surface daily, into rivers and karst systems.

This mine drainage, which is highly acidic, highly saline and contains raised levels of toxic heavy metals, has found its way into the Tweelopies Spruit flowing through the Krugersdorp Game Reserve and towards the Cradle of Humankind.

But the expert maintains there has been little or no intervention from authorities despite warnings issued more than a decade ago.

"Many millions of rands of rare cave minerals and fossils are being destroyed as a result of the ongoing unchecked pollution.

That is sad.

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