South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
Chemical Incidents on the Bluff

Press Release, 8 March 2000

The year 2000 started on a bad note for the residents of the Bluff when large scale toxic chemical emissions drifted over residential areas from the Island View Complex.

The first incident occurred on the 21st January followed by a similar second incident on the 26th February. These emissions have resulted in significant ill-health effects on unsuspecting Bluff residents including reports of choking, streaming eyes, tightness of chest and asthmatic attacks.

The chemicals emitted have been conclusively identified, as Ethyl Acrylate on the 21/01/2000 and Isoprene on the 26/02/2000, by independent sample tests as well as admission by the chemical company concerned. Ethyl Acrylate and Isoprene are considered to be probable carcinogens and are highly irritant.

Arising from interaction with the Authorities, a Complaints Review Committee has been set up. Furthermore, Portnet has issued instructions to their staff not to divulge information to the public relating to chemical transfers affecting the residents.

To date no prosecutions or fines have been issued on any of the guilty parties. Obviously, City Health does not view these incidents in a serious light and seemingly disregards the suffering and trauma of the affected residents .

The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) issues a plea to all affected persons to attend these Complaint Review Meetings so as to ensure that the escalation of toxic emissions are curtailed in future.

END.

Contact person: Herbert Badstubner