Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
7 minute read
21 Jul 2021
5:32 pm

KZN chemical spill: Groundwater likely polluted, communities’ health at risk

Nica Richards

The chemicals which leaked into the river are not only killing fish, but could threaten plants, surrounding animals, and even humans downstream.

Marine life is the most affected at present, but over time, more animals laden with chemicals will likely be consumed, leading to further ecosystem destruction. Photo: Supplied

When looting, riots and unrest caused destruction in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal last week, no one anticipated demonstrations could result in a significant environmental catastrophe, which threatens communities and wildlife all the way down the Ohlanga river, right to Umhlanga Lagoon.  That is, until looters hit United Phosphorous Limited’s (UPL) massive warehouse in the Cornubia area north of Durban. Multiple fires set on 12 July were left smouldering for over a week as emergency services struggled to get to and put out the blaze.  Other than the warehouse being gutted, the undisclosed amount of toxic chemicals, including herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers...