Asbestos danger following Garden Route fires

28 June 2017 - 05:50
By Claire Keeton
Homes in Knysna destroyed by the fire.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux burnt Knysna homes Homes in Knysna destroyed by the fire.

After the fires, the latest deadly threat facing people on the Garden Route is asbestos.

The risk of asbestos contamination at 650 fire-damaged structures around Knysna is being assessed by inspectors, Eden district waste management officer Johan Gie said yesterday.

Inspected sites will be marked with an "A" sign, warning of the presence of asbestos, or an "F", indicating they are asbestos-free.

Gie said no material containing asbestos should be "collected, handled, transported and disposed of by any person or contractor other than a qualified, authorised and approved person or organisation".

The most common asbestos-containing materials are in roofing material, ceiling and floor tiles, insulation and water pipes, tanks and gutters.

The municipality issued the following advice:

  • Do not disturb soil contaminated with asbestos;
  • never create dust in an environment with suspected contamination;
  • never grind, sand, file or smash material that may be a part of an asbestos product;
  • do not dig in potential asbestos-contaminated areas;
  • keep the contaminated area damp until the asbestos-containing material is removed by an approved service provider;
  • and report contamination to Morton Hubbe at

- For more on the dangers of asbestos visit