Willowton Group issues update on river spills and clean up

2019-09-18 06:00

ECHO REPORTERFOLLOWING the spills of vegetable oil and caustic acid from the Willowton Group’s oil factory into rivers around Pietermaritzburg on August 13, the manufacturing facility has issued a statement saying it is pleased to confirm that the river and banks have been cleared of visible product, and that there is only a skeleton clean-up team on the river doing routine maintenance of the booms.

In the statement, the group also said it has appointed specialists who have been on site to complete impact assessments, clean-up operations, as well as conduct a detailed and independent investigation.

Furthermore, the statement confirmed that on Monday, September 9 representatives from the communities of Eastwood, Cinderella, Malvan, Sobantu, Panorama, and Pavilion staged a demonstration outside the offices of the Willowton Group.

The statement read that a meeting was held between the company and the affected communities in order to hear their grievances, which included drinking and fishing water contamination and the killing of crops.

The manufacturer said the company acknowledged that the recent industrial spillage has affected the lives of the many community members who live along the banks of the Baynespruit River and has resolved to assist in both the short- and long-term rehabilitation of said communities.

Solutions towards water provisions that were provided in the statement included the provisions of JoJo tanks and boreholes.

The company also promised to engage with the Department of Water and Sanitation on the issue of water quality.

As part of their commitment, the company promised to adopt the Baynespruit River in partnership with Duzi-uMngeni Conservation Trust (Duct) and the Imbalenhle Project.

The company stated the monitoring of the river from the company’s partners will involve the local community where qualified community members will be employed to assist in the monitoring of the river.

The Willowton Group thanked the communities for their support and understanding during this period.

“The manufacturer said the company acknowledged that the recent industrial spillage has affected the lives of the many community members who live along the banks of the Baynespruit River and has resolved to assist in both the short- and long-term rehabilitation of said communities. Solutions towards water provisions that were provided in the statement included the provisions of JoJo tanks and boreholes.”

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