Epol hoping to clear the air

2016-05-06 13:00
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Pietermaritzburg - Mountain Rise and Eastwood ­residents are calling for a crackdown on air pollution following a meeting with animal feed factory Epol.

Following years of “troublesome” and “terrible” odours, identified by the Msunduzi Municipality to have been emitted by Epol, measures are being taken to address the awful stench.

Mountain Rise and Eastwood ­residents, along with Epol and ­Msunduzi Municipality representatives held a meeting yesterday afternoon at the A.S. Chetty building to address the steps being taken to put a stop to the odours coming from the factory.

However, for the residents who said they had been experiencing odours and air pollution from factories in the area, in some cases for 39 years, Epol’s proposed solutions were not enough.

Eastwood resident Zillah Francis said she had lived in Eastwood for 39 years and had been battling air pollution from Epol and another factory a few hundred metres from her home.

“The gas coming from the other factory is so bad, it leaves us gasping for air,” she said.

“We have to shut our windows and doors but it still creeps through.”

Francis said she “applauded” Epol for the steps they were taking to address the air pollution coming from their ­factory on Ohrtmann Road.

Sillito environmental consultant Colleen McCreadie, appointed by Epol to manage air quality specialist input and facilitate meetings, said ­independent air quality specialist Agros Scientific investigated the odour and compiled a report on the findings.

McCreadie said the investigation ­included site inspections, the analysing of raw material quality, determining which product line was being ­manufactured at the time of odour complaints and many other measures.

The findings suggested a number of steps could be taken, one of these being to raise the vents through which the odours are released by 15 metres.

Epol and Molatek Feed mill operations manager Fanie du Plessis said at the meeting said they could not predict when the steps would be taken as some of the solutions were costly and had to be proven to be the right solution for the factory before being implemented.

Mountain Rise resident Mehmood Oumar, however said he was “not ­happy” with the report and demanded a solution as soon as possible.

“Yesterday [Wednesday], the odour was so bad, I had 16 people call me to complain,” he said.

“We are human beings. Our lives matter. Why are solutions only being looked at after five years of it being an issue?”

Mountain Rise Ratepayers’ Association chairperson Yunus Bayat said the community did not want to have to get used to the odour and ­although the process Epol was ­following was “good” the community needed “immediate solutions”.

Msunduzi environmental health air quality deputy manager Avi Jadoo said the municipality would be rolling out an air quality forum in the near future to address air pollution in the city.

Community members called for a meeting with other factories that ­released odours and agreed to meet with Epol in two months to discuss the company’s progress.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  air pollution

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