Scientists assist in Umbilo River oil spill probe
An independent team of scientists have been brought in to assist with the investigation on the crude oil spillage into the Umbilo River.
The spillage on Monday has also affected the anglers after fishing at the Durban harbour was suspended.
Vicky Dlamini, Transnet Pipeline environment manager said the spill, which had been contained, had been the result of an attempted theft incident on the underground crude oil pipeline on the M7 near Edwin Swales.
Tanuja Naidoo acting chief executive at Transnet Pipeline said the cleaning and rehabilitation which has already begun could take up to 24 months on the 8 kilometre stretch from the source of the spill to the harbour.
“It's a long haul to rehabilitate the environment but we are committed to ensuring that nature is restored.,” said Naidoo.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, on Saturday visited the Durban Harbour Canal to monitor the clean-up operations.
Dube-Ncube said she had also invited a team of scientists to help with the investigation.
“We have assembled skills required to deal with the spillage of this magnitude which had been likely to be a huge impact on the biodiversity in the area,” said Dube-Ncube.
The department further advised that for at least seven days, fishing in the harbour area would be prohibited, due to safety and health reasons.“We are working together to ensure that moving forward, we minimise any serious or devastating impact on our biodiversity. We are confident that law-enforcement agencies will establish what happened,” Dube-Ncube said.
She confirmed her commitment to work with Umbilo Residents and all other Non-Governmental organisations that are involved in the protection of the environment and our biodiversity.
She called on communities to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that those who are responsible for vandalising Transnet pipelines are brought to book.
Dube-Ncube said Transnet had recorded more than 80 incidents of fuel theft and attempted theft.
John Peter secretary of KZN Fisher-folks said the destitute have been punished. He said anglers from Clairwood, Merebank and Wentworth were hard hit because they relied on fishing from the harbour which was the closest to them. “We had to advise them to refrain from fishing because of the spill. But this is frustrating considering they do not have modes of transport to fish elsewhere,” said Peter.