#10  Struggle Against Phosphate Mining in Cape West Coast

Nicola Viljoen describes the Langebaan Lagoon as the jewel of South Africa’s West Coast. It’s not hard to see why when we consider the beauty of the lagoon and the astonishing natural heritage it is host to. Nestled inside of the UNESCO recognised Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, the lagoon and the towns around it boast a remarkable biodiversity. The reserve is located in the Cape floristic region – one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots – and the lagoon is a designated wetland of international importance supporting over 20000 birds of 250 species under the RAMSAR convention. The towns and settlements connected by the biosphere reserve are supported by tourism and small-scale farming but, for the last six years, the ecology of the lagoon and the way of life of these communities have been at the brink of a change they might never be able to come back from.