Nature Conservation and Ecosystems Rehabilitation and Restoration (ERR) hosted the Marine Life Awareness Campaign at the University on 21 October 2020. Sithembile Nkosi, a Lecturer in the department, said the event highlighted the damage that humans are causing upon the marine ecosystem. According to Sithembile, the event also brought to the fore the importance of the marine ecosystems, the threats to such ecosystems, and the mitigation measures.
“There is a number of major threats, and these interfere with the marine food chain, and the general marine ecosystem. For instance, the plastics that are dumped into the sea end up choking the turtles that mistake them for food. The oil spills also cause a lot of damage on the marine life, as do the domestic affluence. The latter changes the temperature of the water, and forces marine animals to the surface where they are picked up by predators,” said Sithembile.
Sithembile said the main mitigation measure was the knowledge that people should have regarding the causes of problems in the marine ecosystem. “The level of awareness of the problems, and improving the enforcement of the applicable regulations, and ensuring the proper environmental impact assessment process are followed, will go a long way in protecting the marine ecosystem,” said Sithembile.
Like last year, the Department of Nature Conservation students were a big part of the campaign. Sithembile added that the students did the presentations and she was more than pleased with the quality of their presentations.
“What was even more heartening was the fact that those were first-year students. This highlights the commitment of our students, even at this level of their study. This augurs well for the kind of graduates we are going to produce. These students are already environmentally sensitive,” said Sithembile.