Cheryl Kahla
Deputy Online News Editor
2 minute read
19 Aug 2021
6:20 am

UPL chemical spill affects Durban beaches, puts community health at risk

Cheryl Kahla

The spill originated when the United Phosphorus Limited (UPL) plant was looted and set alight on 12 July, following the incarceration of ex-president Jacob Zuma.

A member of a spill cleaning crew removes dead fish from the river in the uMhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve in Durban on July 18, 2021. South African authorities said on July 17, 2021, they were investigating possible pollution suspected to be linked to a spill at a chemical plant attacked during last week's riots after dead fish washed ashore. The spill was identified on July 15, after an agrochemical warehouse near the eastern port city of Durban storing chemicals used for making herbicides, pesticides and fungicides was set ablaze. African authorities are investigating possible pollution suspected to be linked to a spill at a chemical plant attacked during recent riots in area. The agrochemical warehouse which stores chemicals used for making herbicides, pesticides and fungicides was set ablaze during the unrest that started last week. (Photo by GUILLEM SARTORIO / AFP)

A chemical spill at a warehouse in Cornubia during the recent incidents of unrest has affected beaches in the north of Durban to such an extent residents are becoming ill from eating seafood. In addition, eThekwini municipality said the beaches north of Umgeni River would remain closed to the public as a precautionary measure. The spill originated when the United Phosphorus Limited (UPL) plant was looted and set alight on 12 July, following the incarceration of ex-president Jacob Zuma. An amaBhungane investigation confirmed the warehouse held millions of litres of chemicals, including 26 000kg of Masta 900 insecticide, which contains...