Shongweni Landfill – transparency over denial

The leachate tanks that have been storing waste water at the Shongweni Landfill site.

THE Democratic Alliance has been inundated with pleas for help from the Upper Highway community, as the stench from the Shongweni landfill site worsens and the impact of living under such horrific conditions increases.

The affected area is growing and now includes Hillcrest, Gillitts, Winston Park, Assagay, Kloof, Dassenhoek, Kwandengezi and Waterfall. Some reports have also come through from the Pinetown area.

The smell is “chemical” and understandably the community is deeply concerned and suspicious about the health impact on their families, particularly young children and older people. The situation is so bad that the DA is aware of one family who have removed their children from a local school and taken them to stay with family on the coast in order to avoid potential health issues.

Concern has also been raised by the Summerveld horse racing fraternity about the health of horses which may impact on the Durban July. Add to this the fact that Thomas More School has had to change the route of their annual walk later this month in order to avoid the worst affected areas and that even the Comrades Association has raised concerns about the impact on runners.

The urgency around this issue cannot be underestimated and the DA in KwaZulu-Natal is committed to lending its full support to the Upper Highway Air non-government organisation which is working tirelessly to resolve the situation. We have also elevated our concerns to our national colleagues in a bid to deal with this problem.

The DA appeals to both the Department of Environmental Affairs and EnviroServ to be transparent and disclose the outcomes of their investigation. This will give people reliable information to make informed choices.

The unknown is a frightening place and there must be transparency rather than denial.

Ann McDonnell, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Environmental Affairs

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