Advanced, Medical

DIDYMO: THE INVASIVE AQUATIC PEST IN NEW ZEALAND

Didymo Aquatic Pest

If you are planning on going canyoning to the wonderful canyons of New Zealand please read the following blog post to protect the environment against one of the most invasive aquatic pests that can be spread just by a single drop of water: Didymo.

Every canyoner must have the following protocol in mind to avoid letting Didymo being carried on any wet gear and ropes used for canyoning, especially when planning on more than one descent during your canyoning holidays.

To protect the waters of New Zealand, to slow and even help stop the spread of Didymo, as well as other aquatic pests, please read carefully the instructions provided:

• CHECK! Remove all obvious clumps from items that have been in the water.

• CLEAN! Soak and scrub all items for a at least one minute with any of the following:

– Hot water (60C) and in an quantity of 10 liters dissolve

– 200ml solution of household bleach or

– 500ml (2 large cups) solution of salt or

– 500ml (2 large cups) solution of nappy cleaner or

– 500ml (2 large cups) solution of antiseptic hand cleaner or

– 500ml (2 large cups) solution of dishwasher detergent

• DRY! If cleaning is not practical, dry items completely and then leave for at least 48 hours before any use.

To avoid carrying double sets of everything for canyoning and not having enough time to fully dry your stuff you can proceed with the 2 first steps of the above procedure.

Make sure to purchase a 100L bin and a 5L bottle of dishwashing liquid. The bin can be filled with 25L of water and the proper amount of liquid, so you can soak and slosh all your gear and ropes for a couple of hours. If you stay in a hotel/Airbnb and there is a bathtub you can fill it with water by 1/4, dissolve the dishwashing liquid and soak/slosh everything letting it in the water as long as you want. Then let it dry on a sunny and windy spot turning your neoprene stuff 2-3 times inside-out and the rest all around so they can get dried all over.

How much time does it take for a dishwashing liquid to kill all the Didymo off your gear?

– 250ml liquid in 25L takes 1.6 hours

– 500ml liquid in 25L takes 10 minutes

Before you travel back home please take a full summer afternoon to clean and dry all your canyoning gear and ropes fully in detail. To be more than certain measure and write down the amount of water/liquid you have used – or even better – take a video of all the precautions you have taken before you go to the airport. Overall, the most important thing is not to pollute your home canyons with Didymo pest – imagine the impact this could have.

To read more about this invasive aquatic pest you can visit:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didymo_in_New_Zealand

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