DURBAN - UPL South Africa said it is pleased that their extensive clean-up and rehabilitation operations are showing success with signs of new vegetation growing and wildlife returning to the area surrounding the site.
The clean-up and rehabilitation follows a chemical spill after an arson attack at UPL’s leased Cornubia warehouse in July during the violence and looting.
Japhet Ncube, spokesperson for UPL South Africa, said that UPL has invested millions to alleviate the impact of the chemical spill.
“UPL has spent over R287 million to mitigate the impact of the chemical spill that resulted from the warehouse being set alight. These efforts have included the appointment of numerous leading independent experts and specialists as well as two spill response teams. During the first two and a half months following the attack there were approximately 130 people working at the spill site 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Ncube added that the teams removed significant volumes of contaminated sediment and water in the Ohlanga tributary and its banks.
“The operation has also included reworking the tributary channel in some areas and the formation of sinuous channel sections to accelerate the natural breakdown of any remaining residual products.”
Ncube said that UPL’s appointed team of aquatic ecologists have started to see animal and plant life returning to some of the most impacted reaches of the river system.
“In some sections, basic life forms, bacteria and algae and even tadpoles are starting to recolonise and take up residence. The specialist team has also begun the re-vegetation process.”
Ncube added that UPL’s team will continue to monitor the situation for potential human health impacts.
“The public can, however, be assured that the broader assessment processes that are being undertaken by UPL’s team of independent experts, which includes the monitoring of any potential human health impacts, will remain ongoing as will water and sediment sampling and monitoring continue over the coming months.”
Ncube said that UPL is committed in the long term to the ongoing monitoring and if necessary remediation and rehabilitation actions.
Ncube added that UPL will continue engaging with the relevant government authorities and provide regular reports on the work being done.