Features » Freshwater pollution and the African clawed frog

New research indicates that chemical pollutants such as insecticides in our dams and rivers could disrupt our aquatic ecosystems and the lives of those who depend on them.

In South Africa, inland water systems such as dams and rivers are relied upon for food, recreation and cultural activities. With the increasing global usage of aquatic pollutants, in order for governments to assess whether policy on common contaminants should be altered, research into the effects of such pollutants can help policy makers to understand how and why these substances disrupt aquatic ecosystems and assist in identifying areas and species most at risk.

Pollution can affect the environment in a number of ways, some of which are not always apparent. South Africa’s inland fisheries are particularly vulnerable to pollution from a variety of sources. These include agricultural run-off, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, untreated sewage and industrial and mine waste. Due to their composition these chemicals are very stable in water and can have profound effects on the normal functioning and feeding relationships of aquatic organisms. 

Scientists at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity have undertaken important research in collaboration with the Water Research Group at North-West University (NWU) to determine whether DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), a controversial insecticide, can have an effect on the predator–prey interactions of aquatic organisms. READ MORE

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