Smelly gas emissions forcing Eastwood residents to stay indoors

2014-09-19 00:00

EASTWOOD residents in Pietermaritzburg are concerned about air pollution and strong-smelling gas emissions in the area.

Residents say the air pollution, which comes from the industrial area, affects their health and wellbeing.

Justine Amod said although factories do provide employment, the pollution affects them negatively.

“During production hours we are forced to stay in doors with our windows and doors closed because of the stench coming from these factories,” Amod told The Witness. She said she and others have raised their concerns with Msunduzi Municipality, but nothing has been done. She said the factories emitting toxic fumes should be fined because “our health lies in the balance”.

“Whenever you are exposed to this stench, your eyes burn and your chest gets tight.”

Some residents said they experience severe headaches and burning sensations in their throats and chests.

“It’s our constitutional right to have clean air so is this not an infringement of our basic human rights?”

Municipality’s air pollution co-ordinator and air quality officer, Clive Anthony, said there is a monitoring station located at Northdale Hospital.

“The station is currently non-operational due to the monitors needing to be serviced and calibrated. Recently no complaints were received regarding air pollution issues,” Anthony said.

He could not say when the monitors — which are operated by the Department of Environmental Affairs — will be serviced. Department’s spokesperson, Siyabonga Maphumulo, also could not tell The Witness when the servicing would take place , saying they will meet with environmentalists to discuss the matter.

Anthony added that the municipality is currently in the process of acquiring two additional air quality monitoring stations within the city. He added that an additional dust monitoring programme is currently being undertaken which will analyse dust concentrations for a year.

Local doctor Fazail Akoo said, “There has been an increase of people suffering from chronic lung deseases coming to me frequently. I often get people suffering from irritation of the skin and eyes.”

GroundWork environmentalist Megan Lewis said the city is continually burdened by air pollution from industries and that it is the municipality’s responsibility to monitor emissions to protect the health of its people.

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