Embargo: Monday morning,
26 June 2000
On Wednesday, 21 June 2000,
at 20:30 hrs more than 30 workers were hospitalised at the Kingsway
Hospital. They were treated for breathing difficulties, coughing,
dry throats, burning eyes due to a gas leak that saturated the Republican
Press Plant. The source of the gas leak was not identified. It is
alleged that the leak was prevalent in the area throughout the week
since Monday, affecting residents as well as workers.
The seriousness of the
leak was brought to reality when three people that were evacuated
from the plant, collapsed outside after being further exposed to the
The local authorities
in the area, the South Council Department of Health, investigated
the source of the gas leak. A further investigation was undertaken
by the Fire Department on the night of the incident that led to people
being hospitalised, and neither the health department nor the Fire
Department were able to identify the gas leak.
The local community in
Isipingo have also being seriously affected by the gas emissions.
This recent gas incident
follows closely on the heels of the chlorine leak at Polifin. "This
recent incident again highlights the government's inability to track
down and deal with the polluters in South Durban," states Michelle
Simon, the SDCEA co-ordinator.
"Further development in
the South Durban area will be inhibited by such poor environmental
governance and enforcement by the responsible authorities and their
inability to bring the culprits to book," highlights SDCEA.
The SDCEA is investigating
the cause of the incident and will seek action from government.
Contact persons: Michelle
Simon and Bobby Peek