Stench worries locals

2015-09-08 06:00
Claremont residents are complaining about petrol fumes coming from the work being done at a garage at the corner of Wolsey and Imam Haron roads.

PHOTO: 
TIYESE JERANJI

Claremont residents are complaining about petrol fumes coming from the work being done at a garage at the corner of Wolsey and Imam Haron roads. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Claremont residents say their health is at risk because of pollution from the removal of underground fuel tanks in their area.

The petrol fumes coming from the garage at the corner of Wolsey and Imam Haron roads is worrying residents because it has crept into their houses.

Residents say the removal work started last week and since then it has been unbearable to stay in their houses. They say the stench of petrol is all over. They believe the fumes will linger in their homes for some time and have a bad impact on their health.

One resident, Prakash Khusal, says the smell in his kitchen and bedroom is so bad that now and again he has to go out and walk around to breathe fresh air. “It’s so bad and we are coughing tremendously because of the fumes. My wife is very upset and my son is not coping at all. Even the dog is having a difficult time playing outside. The fumes will really make us sick and they just started doing the work without any preventative measures being taken. It’s even worse for some of us who are old, our immune systems are not that strong. I’m coughing all the time. I can’t eat properly because the fumes are making me nauseous,” says Khusal.

Christina Roger, another resident, says they fear getting sick. “I can’t take my morning or afternoon walks as usual because of the fumes. They make breathing so difficult. Staying at home isn’t any better because the house also isn’t getting any fresh air. The air is contaminated with the fumes and you can smell the petrol, which is very unpleasant,” she says.

Simon Gwegwe, foreman at the garage, says they are removing the tanks and will be gone in no time.
“We have received complaints from the residents and we are trying our best to finish quickly. We have been placing dry soil where we removed the tank and where there were spillages so that the residents won’t be affected by the smell.

“We are waiting for results from the department of environment affairs as well to tell us if the soil is contaminated, then we will know what to do with the sand that has petrol. If it’s contaminated it has to be removed. If not, we have to put some more dry soil down, so that the people don’t smell the fumes,” he says.

According to the City of Cape Town, the City’s air quality officer visited the site and found an odour complaint from a resident of Wolsey Road was justified.

Siyabulela Mamkeli, mayoral committee member for health, confirms the contractor had the soil on site sampled and backfilled the site. The responsible garage company had also reported the site as being contaminated to the department of environmental affairs and had set out what remedy it was planning to take, says Mamkeli.

“The area was backfilled and will be capped with cleaned soil during the course of Friday (last week) to further mitigate the odour nuisance. City health will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the odorous emissions have abated, failing which a compliance notice will be served,” he says.


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