Questions over source of toxic odour

2010-11-15 00:00

RESIDENTS of Eastwood and other parts of Pietermaritzburg remain in the dark regarding the origins of a toxic odour that emanated out of the greater Eastwood/Willowton area late on Thursday evening and early Friday morning.

According to numerous residents, the odour appeared to stem from a gas leak from a nearby factory in the area.

A resident of Eastwood, Gail Johnson, toldThe Witness yesterday that the odour left many locals feeling sick and many people had to seek medical attention on Friday.

Another resident noted that the smell could be detected as far afield as Montrose. Johnson said many residents experienced constricted breathing, nausea and headaches.

“The smell was in the air for a day-and-a-half or so. I even smelt the odour in my car,” Johnson added.

The director of environmental justice organisation groundWork, Bobby Peek, told The Witness that they will investigate the matter this week.

He said the city’s environmental health officials need to determine which toxic industries operate in this area, adding that the city should make public all the environmental and operational permits granted to these industries.

“This does not look like it was a mild gassing. It was an acute gassing, so it was serious. I have a feeling that the operational permits do not exist in some cases,” Peek said.

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