Reader’s Letter: Car washing questioned

Dr Eddie Riddell rightly points out in Tuesday’s Lowvelder that the drought is by no means over. The Kruger National Park urges visitors to use water sparingly and yet one sees car-wash bays blithely using water in every camp, even in notoriously dry ones like Satara, far from any river.

When did it become necessary for visitors to have their vehicles washed in the park? Surely, as “nature lovers” these people should not be so hysterically offended by a bit of dust or even, in better times, mud? Is it so imperative to have these offending elements of nature removed that all thoughts of saving water disappear in a torrent of soapy foam? Drought or no drought, these wash bays do not belong in the park. Wash your vehicle at home or stick to tar roads.

William Mabasa, acting head of communications for SANParks, responds:
I understand your reader’s concern and I fully agree that we should use water very sparingly in this country whether there is drought or not because South Africa is a water-scarce country.

The issue of car-wash bays in the park is a debatable one.

I do not believe that each and every one of the 1,7 million people who visit the park every year, will hold the same view as your reader, there would definitely be those who appreciate the service.

I arrived at Skukuza in 1999 and there were car-washing bays in most of the larger camps offering the service. I do not know when it all started but people have been using them like they do now.

Nevertheless, we take your reader’s view very seriously and it is one of the ideas we should consider the next time we discuss water restrictions in the park. Please also note that these car- wash services are operated by unemployed people from our neighbouring communities who are supporting their families solely out of the profit they make out of this service, and this is also an aspect which must been taken into consideration as well to arrive at a sound decision regarding this matter.

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Reader’s Letter: Use water sparingly