The suburb that never sleeps

2012-02-08 00:00

RESIDENTS of Orient Heights who have complained about the constant noise generated from AfriSam’s aggregate quarry on Greytown Road will have to get used to the round-the-clock operation.

Residents called The Witness last week to complain that AfriSam was operating the quarry round the clock and the noise kept them up all night.

A resident who did not want to be named said his two small children were struggling in class because the noise kept them awake.

“The principal of the school has told us they are falling asleep in class,” he said.

Another resident said the noise became so intense that it often sounded like a “war zone” at the bottom of the hill.

But AfriSam KZN general manager Peter Pretorius said the company has obtained the necessary permission from the industry regulator, the Department of Mineral Resources.

“We have also consulted the neighbouring community as well as our employee unions. All affected parties were satisfied with the reasons provided for this requirement prior to it being carried out,” said Pretorius.

He said the need for a 24-hour operation is because of increased growth in local construction and building activities since 2007, resulting in higher demand for building materials.

This is mainly as a result of projects like the King Shaka International Airport and road infrastructure upgrades, for which material was sourced from its Pietermaritzburg plant.

Said Pretorius: “Producers such as AfriSam have had to respond to this increase as the projects are of national interest.

“We were already producing at maximum capacity at the time of this increased demand and have since then had to extend our production hours as and when required in order to meet demand.

“The most recent of these high-demand projects is the Spring Grove dam, which will store and provide water for communities in the greater Umgungundlovu area,”

Concerns have also been raised about growing levels of dust pollution.

Pretorius said: “At a meeting that was held at the end of 2011 — which was attended by Msunduzi Municipality’s environmental department, the local community and the Department of Mineral Resources — we were made aware of these concerns.

“We placed high priority on ensuring minimal possible impact of our operations on our operating environments. We have installed monitoring equipment to keep regular track of our noise and dust levels and take corrective measures where necessary.

“Results show that our current respirable dust levels do not exceed the legal levels permitted for urban areas.

“Boundary noise surveys also show compliance with legal standards for urban areas.”

Msunduzi Municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said the matter had been brought to the municipality’s attention.

“Members of our environmental department went out to measure the noise levels as well as levels of dust pollution.

“We have sent this to the [Department of Mineral Resources] and await their response.”

The department said it was looking into the matter.

Boundary noise surveys show compliance with legal standards for urban areas. Peter Pretorius, AfriSam KZN GM

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