WATCH: Concerns raised after 'black clouds of smoke' drift over south Durban suburbs

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Jun 3, 2020

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Durban - Concerns have been raised about the health and safety of Wentworth residents after plumes of black smoke was seen billowing from the nearby refinery

South Durban Community Environmental Alliance chairperson Desmond Dsa said once again the health of the residents was at the mercy of the refinery. Dsa said he was on his way home on Wednesday, when he received a flurry of calls from concerned residents. 

"As I got closer, I saw the smoke and realised that it was unburnt hydrocarbon," he said. 

Dsa said the smoke drifted over Treasure Beach, Highbury, and surrounding roads just before 4pm. 

Clouds of black smoke could be seen drifting above the Wentworth community on Wednesday. Picture: Supplied

"I managed to get hold of the Air Pollution officer about the flares and the smoke. This has been going on for the last two weeks and there is no air quality monitoring going on," he said. 

With residents already living in fear of Covid-19, Dsa said it was concerning that their respiratory systems were being exposed to the smoke from the hydrocarbon. 

Clouds of black smoke could be seen drifting above the Wentworth community on Wednesday. Video: Supplied

"There will definitely be more Covid-19 cases if this continues," he said. 

Last month, residents living in Merebank and Wentworth complained of different gas smells emanating from the refinery. 

According to Dsa, the smoke has a major impact on the health of families in the community. 

"It was evident that the hydrocarbons emitted were not properly burnt as the smoke turned black after three hours. These kinds of incidents have continuously caused communities to sleep with one eye open, he said. 

SDCEA has been a key body in challenging polluting industries in KZN with a specific focus on south Durban. Over the past two decades, SDCEA has been monitoring the air pollution with a purpose of understanding the health impacts communities experience and suffer from.

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