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Questions still surround suspected gas leak in February in Richards Bay

File Picture: Paramedics transport a patient for treatment in Richards Bay after a suspected gas leak in the area. Picture: Supplied

File Picture: Paramedics transport a patient for treatment in Richards Bay after a suspected gas leak in the area. Picture: Supplied

Published May 20, 2022

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DURBAN - THREE months after residents, including pupils, had to be treated in Richards Bay due to a suspected gas leak, questions remain on what was the source of the leak.

In February, at least 37 children from Richards Bay Hoërskool had to be treated for symptoms after the suspected gas leak.

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Henning de Wet, DA chief whip and councillor in Richards Bay, said he had written a letter to City of uMhlathuze acting municipal manager Nkosenye Zulu this week with questions about the investigation.

Sandy Camminga, of the Richards Bay Clean Air Association, said they had conducted their own report into the suspected gas leak.

“One of the things we wish to make clear is that it was not only Richards Bay Hoërskool that was affected by the suspected gas leak. There were 370 residents affected and we have taken our time to interview every one of those residents and are in the process of finalising our report. We hope that in the next two weeks that the report will be able to be released.”

De Wet said in his letter that it had been reported at the time that hundreds of residents experienced symptoms of gas inhalation, with many treated by medical practitioners.

“The residents who reportedly experienced symptoms were mostly concentrated in the Arboretum suburb in ward 3 of the City of uMhlathuze.”

De Wet added that Richards Bay regularly experienced incidents where gas levels from the nearby industries exceed the National Environmental Management Act standards.

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“These incidents have in particular increased since October 2021. The continuous exposure to high levels of air pollution can cause a variety of adverse health outcomes.”

He said he had given the city 14 business days to respond.

Brilliant Mncwango from the City of uMhlathuze said that they needed to consult with the relevant departments before releasing any statement.

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