EThekwini Municipality with advice from KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has decided to close the beaches north of uMgeni estuary due to the environmental and potential human health impacts of a chemical spillage into the Umhlanga Lagoon.

The closure will affect Beachwood, Virginia, Glenashley, La Lucia, Umhlanga Main and Bronze, Umdloti, La Mercy and Tongaat beaches, inclusive of tidal pools. Authorities are engaging with other local municipalities further north as a precautionary measure. The public are advised to avoid the beach area at this time until it is deemed safe.

Extensive environmental impacts are being reported at uMhlanga and uMdloti Lagoons and beaches in the vicinity and these have contributed to killing numerous species of marine and bird life. The pollution is considered serious and can affect one’s health if species are collected and consumed. Lagoon and seawater contact must also be avoided. The public is therefore advised to cease all activity on the above-mentioned beaches.

Clean up companies are trying to deal with the spill which originated from a chemical warehouse fire in Umhlanga, following this week’s unrest. Other potential pollution sources are being investigated. Authorities are monitoring the situation closely.

Some residents in areas north of Durban are also reporting smoke residue from burned chemical products. The public can only smell it from time to time depending on the wind direction as it dissipates. Residents are advised to close windows and doors and put wet cloths over vents until smoke clears as a precautionary measure.

Please report any further pollution in the waterways or sea to the Emergency number 031 3610000.

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