Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment deploys specialist team to investigate eco-system impacts following UPL fire in Cornubia

“We are deeply concerned about the environmental impact on air quality as well as on the aquatic and marine ecosystems resulting from the fire incident at the UPL facility in Cornubia that took place during the unrest in Kwazulu-Natal last week,” says the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy.

On request from the province’s MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Ravi Pillay, we have decided to deploy a team of specialists to KwaZulu-Natal. The team will support the ongoing efforts to address the pollution impacts resulting from the burning of the UPL warehouse, containing bulk supplies of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides.

The team will be arriving in KwaZulu-Natal on the 22nd of July 2021, and will consist of individuals with technical skills in the following areas of work:

  • Aquatic systems
  • Epidemiology (health risk assessment)
  • Enforcement – Waste and Pollution
  • Compliance – Oceans and Coasts

The objective of this team will be to provide on-the-ground support and assistance to the KZN EDTEA and the eThekwini Municipality.  The priority at this stage is to ensure that impacts are mitigated and that the containment measures are effective.

In this regard, it is furthermore important to note than an authority’s joint operations team is already in place and working with the team of specialists appointed by UPL to understand the extent of the impacts and co-ordinate the implementation of containment and mitigation measures.

For media inquiries contact Albi Modise on 083 490 2871

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY, FISHERIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT

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