The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance says many residents have confirmed that they have health problems following the release of toxic chemicals after people set fire to a chemical factory inland from Umhlanga last week.

The chemicals, including pesticides, were released into the local river system.

This has forced the closure of beaches in the Umhlanga area.

People have been warned not to eat the large numbers of dead fish that have washed up.

The Environmental Alliance’s Desmond D’Sa says they hope the Health Department will assess the situation and send mobile clinics to the area to help people suffering from respiratory and other ailments.

“People have been affected with their health and has been confirmed by communities all over. We have quite a substantial amount of people who have registered complaints in regards to their health problems. It is more dangerous with people with pre-existing conditions and that will exacerbate the problem. With any pollution, the pollution sometimes it does not found in the few days. It takes some time and will see the causation after a few months.”

In the video below, Desmond D’Sa provides more clarity: