LISTEN: Cornubia chemical factory blaze extinguished, cleanup underway

LISTEN: Cornubia chemical factory blaze extinguished, cleanup underway

Environmental Affairs officials say the fire at a chemical factory in Cornubia, north of Durban, was still burning by Thursday afternoon. 

Cornubia chemical factory blaze extinguished, cleanup underway
Nushera Soodyal

This was more than a week after the blaze was started by looters. 

"So from 5 o'clock yesterday [Thursday], we can all confirm that the fire had been completely extinguished," the department's Siphumele Nowele said on Friday. 

"So from that atmospheric pollution point of view the source of pollution which was the fire and the smoke actually stopped yesterday evening. 

"However, as we are going to hear when we are taking a report from our air quality specialists, there are other impacts that would have resulted from the pollution, air pollution that happened prior."

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A team from the Environmental Affairs Department arrived in Durban on Thursday to assess the impact of the fire and the spill.

The chemicals got into the Umhlanga Lagoon and estuary and killed some of the marine animals.

Nowele said three tonnes of dead fish have been collected.

Pollution control measures have now been put in place.

"There are suckers also, very big suckers that are being used to suck up the pollutants and the chemicals - some are floating and some have already sunk into the riverbed,” said Nowele.

"So it is quite an involving exercise that is happening right now. There are two companies that the facility has contracted to help them. There is Drizit and Spill Tech and also there is also a suite of other specialists consultants that are helping." 

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