Nature may be Covid-19 lockdown’s biggest beneficiary

Nature along KZN's coast is slowly improving amid the 21-day lockdown, with shark nets and drumlines temporarily removed.

All over the world, reports are being received about the resurgence of nature as humans are forced to stay indoors amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Along with other coastal towns, Richards Bay is hoping for a similar positive outcome as the ocean habitat becomes virtually void of human activity, reports Zululand Observer.

Last week, as a consequence of a ban on beach bathing to limit social contact, the 700 metres-long shark nets – one of the biggest potential enemies to dolphins, rays, turtles and other marine species, along with the shark culling – were lifted at Richards Bay.

In fact, all of KZN’s shark nets and drumlines have been temporarily removed.

That’s not the only environment-friendly plus coming out of the lockdown.

The absence of small boats that, along with normal shipping traffic, impact on the normal biological functions, stress levels and communication of marine creatures, including Richards Bay’s local endangered humpback dolphin population, is a bonus.

Add to that the enforced stay away of the approximate 2,000 recreational anglers who occupy our shores every day, competing with sea creatures for their food.

Many types of pollution are likely to be reduced.

Already a significant decrease in the amount of plastic and other litter at Richards Bay’s main beach, a few hundred metres from the dolphins’ favourite feeding ground, is noticeable.

And with some factories either totally or partially closed down for the lockdown period, the town’s notorious industrial waste that enters the ocean via the offshore pipeline will be significantly reduced.

And on the shoreline, ghost crabs are already more abundant after just 10 days without bathers, while dune vegetation shows signs of improvement.

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