An Oil-Spill At The Bluff Silt Canal Has Left Residents And Users Of The Canal Upset And Disgusted By The Deliberate Pollution!
Over the weekend an illegal dumping of oil into the Bluff Silt Canal has caused major pollution and financial damage to many residents of the canal and surrounding areas. The pollution has left a 10m-wide slick in the canal, which houses the Bluff Yacht Club and the KZN Light Tackle Boat Angling Association. The oil has stained boats and ropes and has left a thick black scum on the surface and on the beach. The spillage has also damaged the mangroves in the area.
The oil slick is estimated to have stretched out to about 30km and has possibly entered the canal via a storm water drain. Damage from the Bluff Silt Canal to the Bayhead Road Bridge, out the harbour mouth and up to Umhlanga. Fisherman Lionel Crow said, “This is a big spill. It is really disgusting, third-world stuff and it is unacceptable for someone to just dump oil.” Crow reported the pollution to Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) on Sunday, after discovering the spill and a representative from the environmental department carried out an inspection later in the afternoon.
Another resident, Ashton Martin, owns a boat that was moored at the Bluff Yacht Club. He described the pollution as “disgusting” and said, “I will have to take my boat out of the water and on to the beach to clean it.” Fish and other wildlife have been seriously affected by the oil-spill. A Goliath heron, which is supposed to be brown, was spotted at the canal covered in black sticky oil. The area, which serves as a feeding ground for many fish has already seen dead fish in the waters, affected by spill.
Investigation And Clean Up Under Way
Spilltech, a pollution control company has already been called in to begin the clean up operation. Captain Alex Miya, acting port manager of the Port of Durban said, “The clean-up had started on Sunday and the booms were placed immediately to contain the oil.” Cleaning crews normally set up “booms” to prevent the pollutant from spreading to a wider area, so the spread of the spillage has been contained. An estimated 4 000 litres of heavy crude oil-type product entered the port through the Silt Canal.
The investigation is already moving swiftly as sand and water samples were taken. “It was not known how long and how costly the operation would be,” said TNPA Port of Durban media spokeswoman, Lesley van Duffelen. She also said yesterday, “The eThekwini Municipality’s pollution control department was alerted on Sunday. Its officials have traced the oil back along the canal to just past Solomon Mahlangu (Edwin Swales VC) Drive. The oil then tapers out.”
Desmond D’Sa, of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, said: “The massive spill continues to plague the community.
“This is not the first spill of its kind this year. These spills are slowly killing off the last bit of the mangrove swamps in the harbour and severely affecting fish and marine life.”
*information sourced from www.iol.co.za