The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) has deployed a team of specialists to KwaZulu-Natal following a fire at the UPL facility in Cornubia.

In a statement on Wednesday, the department said the team will support the ongoing efforts to address the pollution impact resulting from the burning of the UPL warehouse, containing bulk supplies of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides.

“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,” DFFE Minister Barbara Creecy said.

The team was deployed on request by the province’s MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ravi Pillay.

The team is expected to arrive in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday. It will consist of individuals with technical skills in the following areas of work: Aquatic systems; Epidemiology (health risk assessment); Enforcement – Waste and Pollution, and Compliance – Oceans and Coasts.

“The objective of this team will be to provide on-the-ground support and assistance to the KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs [department] 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,” the department said.

Source: South African Government News Agency