A 100,000 litre oil spill near Horwood’s Farm in Edenvale has severely compromised wildlife in the area.
According to a Facebook post by the South African Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, a fire at a factory in Isando discharged lubricant into the stormwater system, which flowed into the river system.
Technical director at the factory, Monde Mekute, said the spill took place last Friday due to a fire at the factory, and assured that the spillage was escalated to an emergency from the first day it took place.
He however could not provide an estimate of how long oil spills of such a nature take to clean up.
The centre’s CEO, Judy Davidson, said that birds that reside near water are most at risk, and that so far, many residents have assisted with rescue efforts.
Egyptian Geese, Coots and Hadidas are most at risk.
Davidson explained that due to oil coating the outside of the birds, they preen their feathers in an effort to get it off, but this poisons their organs.
The oil also results in the birds not being able to regulate their own body temperature.
She said once birds affected by oil spills are brought into the centre, their systems are flushed using a drip.
Davidson added that clean-up efforts on this scale would typically take months to complete.
Those monitoring clean-up operations say the spill runs from Barbara Road near Town Lodge to the canal near Crane Road, towards Edenglen and Howard’s Farm.
Relevant authorities have been notified of the spill, and have been on the scene to inspect the damage.
If residents find birds or any wildlife affected by the oil spill, Davidson said that they should not feed it. “Keep them warm and contact us as soon as possible,” she emphasised.
Residents can contact Judy on 073 112 1131.