Residents walking on the beaches between Durban North and Ballito, in KwaZulu-Natal, are being asked not to collect dead marine life.
Fish, crayfish and other creatures have died following a toxic spillage from a chemical warehouse into the Umhlanga Lagoon, following this week’s unrest.
Affected beaches include Beachwood, Virginia, Glenashley, La Lucia, Umhlanga Main and Bronze, Umdloti, La Mercy and Tongaat.
People are warned not to eat any of the marine creatures which have washed up on shore.
They need to be placed in a bag and then burned to prevent them affecting other animals in the food chain.
Conservationists are also requesting that walkers take a photo of whatever they pick up and to record when and where they found the dead marine life.
eThekwini Municipality, following advice from KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, has closed all the beaches north of uMgeni estuary and are engaging with other local municipalities further north as a precautionary measure.
The public has been advised to avoid the beach areas until it the authorities deem them to be safe.
According to eThekwini Municipality the uMhlanga and uMdhloti Lagoons and beaches have been hardest hit with numerous species of marine and bird life dying from the toxic pollution.
As clean up companies try to deal with the spill, residents in areas north of Durban are reporting smoke residue from burned chemical products.
The municipality has advised people living in the affected areas to close windows and doors and to put wet cloths over vents until smoke the clears as a precautionary measure.
Residents are also being asked to report any further pollution in the waterways and the ocean to 031 361 0000.
- This article was updated to remove the reference to the NSRI. The Witness apologises for the error.