Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Affairs Barbara Creecy. File photo: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)
Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Affairs Barbara Creecy. File photo: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

Environment minister asked to evaluate impact of hazardous waste released into rivers during KZN violence

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Jul 17, 2021

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MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA

THE official opposition called on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy to request her department conduct a full evaluation of the environmental impact of the recent riots in KwaZulu-Natal.

This after hazardous materials were released into environmentally sensitive areas following the burning and destruction of buildings during the pubic violence and looting in Durban.

The eThekwini metro has since closed the beaches north of the Umgeni estuary up to the Tongaat River due to the contamination of the uMhlanga estuary.

“The public will be advised when it is safe to use the beaches,” the city said.

DA MP Dave Bryant said it was essential that current and potential future environmental hazards were identified and that immediate action be taken to address the issues at hand.

“Acrid fumes from burning buildings and warehouses are being released as a consequence of the riots and this will undoubtedly impact the health and well-being of surrounding residents.

“The devastation has also led to the release of hazardous chemicals into rivers and wetlands,” Bryant said.

He said the uMhlanga lagoon appeared to have been hit particularly hard after the release of chemicals with many dead fish washing up.

“This could potentially lead to further impacts on the lives of other animals and people who may consume these dead fish.

“It is essential that the minister acts swiftly and decisively in the wake of the riots to avoid any further devastation to the environment,” Bryant said.

Political Bureau

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