Where is the smell from?

2017-04-03 13:31
Residents question sources of sickening odours in the Hayfields and Prestbury areas.

Residents question sources of sickening odours in the Hayfields and Prestbury areas. (Posed file image)

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What is that awful smell in Hayfields and Prestbury?

Residents living in Hayfields have called Witness Warriors and sent numerous e-mails asking the same question.

They said the pungent smell is so strong that residents are forced to close their windows.

“Instead of the fresh morning air we wait for every morning, we are greeted with an almost chemical-like smell,” said Hayfields resident Shree Maharaj.

Maharaj said the smell had been lingering in the air over the past few months and leaves residents with a “terrible headache and nausea”.

She questioned whether it was a chemical company dumping their waste in the area.

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said the smell affected many people in the area, all complaining of the same symptoms.

“We don’t know where the smell is coming from, whether it is a chemical company or the city dump, we don’t know but whatever it is, it is making the air toxic and is going to make the people very sick,” said the resident.

The noxious fumes were also reported in the Prestbury area and residents there described it as a strong oil-like odour.

Most residents said the smell had been an issue for many years with some saying it emanated from the industries in Edendale valley.

The smell usually infiltrated the areas during the early mornings and late afternoons, with residents saying they could barely breathe and this resulted in sore throats, coughing, sinus problems and burning eyes.

Witness Warriors attempted to find out what the causes of these pungent smells in the areas were.

Are both areas being affected by the same source or was it separate issues affecting the areas?

A formal inquiry to the Msunduzi Municipality went unanswered. Officials from the city’s health and environment department said they were not allowed to release anything to the media and advised that we should go to the spokesperson.

In 2009, The Witness published a letter from Prestbury resident Solveig Otte who said the air at midnight on Christmas Day was “invaded” by a chemical odour from Plessislaer.

In a previous article, environmental activism group groundWork’s environmental health campaign manager Rico Euripidou said residents needed to complain to the municipality as soon as their noses encountered any pesky odours.

“If only one person complains, and no one else, it’s like the smell does not exist,” he said.

Euripidou said complaining was necessary to map the areas where the smell is prevalent, the wind direction at the time of the odour, and the weather conditions to see which factory the smell could have come from.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  witness warrior

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