Eastwood raises stink over foul air

2012-07-16 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality is working around the clock to deal with air pollution after complaints by Eastwood residents about the foul chemical odour released by nearby factories.

One of the residents, Henrietta Smith (60), said sometimes she covers her nose and mouth to avoid choking, or stays trapped in the house to avoid the odour.

“Some days I wish I could pick up my house and run away with it,” she said.

Her dismay is caused by a foul, chemical smell that pervades the Eastwood neighbourhood when factories release chemicals into the atmosphere. She said this has been going on for three years.

She even thought of selling her house as the smell is unbearable. “We live near factories and they’re always releasing their chemicals. The frustration is mounting; the community is already planning to draft a petition,” she said.

Inspectors often visit the area for inspections, but their assessments seem not to bear fruit, said Smith.

She had to find alternative accommodation for her 20-year-old son because he is asthmatic.

“It’s a daily ordeal and it’s getting worse. We’re dying,” she lamented.

Sheila Kemp (58), also from Eastwood said she does not enjoy her own home.

She has to bear double trouble, as if the chemical smells are not enough, she said her neighbour is running a panel beating business.

“I was advised by an inspector to sell my house. It’s so terrible to live like this,” Kemp said.

Msunduzi Municipality said their environmental health department is aware of the problem and is taking steps to resolving the issue.

“There are several odour-releasing industries in the Eastwood area that have been visited by our inspectors. We are currently looking at formulating a public forum where residents and business can come together to discuss such problems and also report to business at the onset.

“We are also looking at implementing an odour reduction plan that will work towards reducing the odour that is being emitted,” Msunduzi’s spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said.

Environmental campaigner groundWork’s air quality standards manager, Siziwe Khanyile, said they will take samples in the area to do their own assessment. She said they have had problems in Pietermaritzburg with air pollution in the past, but nothing has been reported to them recently. She said these chemicals vary; some may cause cancer, sore eyes, itchiness and respiratory problems.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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