Fears Durban blaze will poison area

2015-03-28 00:00

AN inferno that razed two Durban factories has prompted concerns over the potential for environmental fallout by concerned members of the community.

The blaze started at the Africa Sun Oil Refineries factory on South Coast Road and flames eventually reached a neighbouring paint factory, causing significant damage to vehicles and property.

Desmond D’Sa, chair of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, said that many complaints had been lodged with the city’s Health Department in the past few weeks regarding strong odour emanating from the area at which the fire had taken place.

“Our plea to those officials who give out positive records of decisions is that they must take into serious consideration the views put forward about these industries that dump their toxins into people’s bodies and homes and creates huge negative health impacts. We call on the city health officials and fire department to thoroughly investigate this incident with regard to safety procedures and standards, equipment maintenance and documentation concerning the certification of the tanks, as we believe that they were recently built. Another point of concern is the training of personnel and the presence of alarm systems, as this only went off after 15 minutes and, to add, it was extremely inaudible,” he said.

Meanwhile, after the fire was contained, Transnet National Ports Authority worked to confine and mop up the edible oil spill at the Port of Durban, which resulted from the fire.

Port manager Moshe Motlohi said yesterday: “The clean-up team is working as fast as it can and operations will continue until the clean-up is complete to ensure minimum impact to the environment.”

Rain and high tide worsened the situation as the oil spread to a wider area in the vicinity of the Bluff Yacht Club.

The Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (Crow) and KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife have been alerted by the port as there is a risk of fish and birds being affected by the spill.

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