Report into chemical contamination at Durban beaches finalised 'soon', environment dept says

27 August 2021 - 18:38 By kgaugelo masweneng
Dead fish have washed up on the beaches of Umhlanga and Umdloti, prompting a warning from eThekwini municipality for bathers and fishermen to steer clear.
Dead fish have washed up on the beaches of Umhlanga and Umdloti, prompting a warning from eThekwini municipality for bathers and fishermen to steer clear.
Image: via Facebook

.

The final report into the chemical spill that contaminated beaches between the Umgeni River and Salt Rock north of Durban in July is expected to be completed by the end of September 2021, says the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

The spill occurred when a chemical warehouse in Cornubia was torched during the recent unrest in Durban.

Msawakhe Mayisela, eThekwini Municipality’s spokesperson, said authorities are appealing to the public to refrain from any beach activities until the water quality is deemed safe. The closure of the beaches follows the chemical spill that occurred during the unrest in July when a chemical warehouse in Cornubia was set alight.

The spill contaminated the Ohlanga River and uMhlanga Estuary which leads to the sea in the Umhlanga area. “Authorities closed the beaches as a precautionary measure as it was not known how far the contamination had spread, what chemicals had leached into the sea, and what effect it would have on human health,” Mayisela said.

The minister of forestry, fisheries, and the environment, Barbara Creecy, said the report will guide further actions that need to be taken by the government to address any non-compliance detected, but also proactive measures that need to be implemented to strengthen the regulation of this sector.

“The multi-departmental investigative team which was set up to address the third priority has almost finalised a preliminary report which sets out the findings of the investigation, specifically into the regulatory environment in which the UPL warehouse was required to operate,” said Creecy.

The public is advised to refrain from all recreational beach activities, including fishing or surfing, swimming, bait collection, and picking up of dead species. This warning and temporary closure of beaches remain in place until it is determined that the threat has abated, Mayisela said.

TimesLIVE 


subscribe