Part of the main life killed by toxic chemical pollution in Umhlanga.PHOTO: janelle barnard
Residents walking on the beaches between Durban North and Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, are urged to collect dead marine animals.
Fish, crayfish and other creatures have died in a toxic spill from a chemical warehouse in Umhlanga Lagoon, following the unrest this week.
The affected beaches include Beachwood, Virginia, Glenashley, La Lucia, Umhlanga Main and Bronze, Umdloti, La Mercy and Tongaat.
People are warned not to eat any of the sea creatures that have washed up on the shore.
They should be placed in a bag and then burned to prevent them from affecting other animals in the food chain.
Conservations also require walkers to take a photo of whatever they choose and record when and where they found dead marine life.
This information is vital for the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) to determine the extent of the impact the spill had on the ocean and lagoons.
EThekwini Municipality, following advice from KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, has closed all beaches north of the uMgeni estuary and is engaging with other local municipalities further north as a precaution.
The public have been advised to avoid beaches until authorities deem them safe.
According to the municipality of eThekwini, the lagoons and beaches of uMhlanga and uMdhloti have been the hardest hit, with many species of marine life and birds dying from the toxic pollution.
As clean-up companies try to deal with the spill, residents of areas north of Durban are reporting smoke residue from burnt chemicals.
The municipality has advised people living in affected areas to close windows and doors and put damp rags on vents until smoke clears as a precaution.
Residents are also invited to report any new pollution in waterways and the ocean to 031 361 0000.