"Poison the river! Drain the swamp!" These are the calls in South Perth for a public meeting about mosquitoes, tomorrow, Tuesday 17 January.
We love our rivers. They are where Noongar Wadjuk people lived, where the Swan River Settlement was formed in 1829. We swim, fish, sail and walk in and by the rivers most of our lives. In 1930 the City tried to drain wetlands and imported Gulf of Mexico mosquito fish. It didn't work; the fish just ate other stuff and are now the most common fish in the Canning River. In 1940 we built Canning Dam, reduced flow by 98%, stopped fresh water flow and left wetlands around Wilson, Shelley and Manning permanently salty. By the 1960s mosquitoes drove families indoors at sunset.
A group of residents wants the City to fog wetlands and lay bait for young mosquito larvae. Fogging chemicals kill all insects, including bees, dragon flies and moths. Larvicide kills all larvae, of all types. Species that naturally eat mosquitoes are eliminated; our rivers are poisoned and natural balances disrupted. The effect of fogging on mosquitoes lasts only a few hours.
We love our rivers; they belong to all of us. We love watching moon rise over the water, pelicans skimming low at sunrise, swans nesting. We are horrified about dead dolphins and disappearing birdlife. These rivers are at the core of our lives and we want them managed with the depth of appreciation that we all share.
Even during the recent, spirited debates about Canning Bridge development, residents, the Como Action Group and Ward candidates spoke and wrote of a desire for “pristine rivers.”
On 7 p.m. 17 January, tomorrow, Tuesday, South Perth is hosting a public meeting at the Civic Hall, corner of South Terrace and Sandgate Street, South Perth. A group is attempting promote an argument to poison the river. Please be there to provide a voice to speak up for care of our beautiful waterways and their complexity, to say that this is just not on.
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