Communities surrounding the chemical warehouse UPL at Cornubia north of Durban say they have been failed by the authorities. Community members were voicing their frustration during a meeting on the lack of information coming from authorities on the health hazards two months after the warehouse burnt down.
It is believed that agricultural chemicals seeped into the river after looters set alight the UPL Chemicals warehouse at Cornubia.
Chemicals used in pesticides were stored in the warehouse. The spillage caused marine animals and birds to die. A representative for uMhlanga residents, Anton Muller, says they are concerned that the hazardous chemicals are being stored within 400m of a school.
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for economic development and environment affairs, Ravi Pillay, says criminal charges have been opened against the company.
“There has been a criminal complaint laid which at this stage focuses on two aspects; non-compliance with certain authorisation that should have been there and what we believe is non-compliance with directives that have been issued after the event in terms of NEMA, so that process will obviously flow. But at the same time, we believe that there are professional teams that are there at work in terms of devising credible responses on the public health side.”
Concerns over impact of fire at a Durban chemical plant: Desmond D’Sa