Environmental non-compliances reported by affected communities, the media, & NGOs
According to a news report published by the South Coast Herald on 25 August 2016,1 a “foul acidic odour” in the Port Shepstone area was traced by the Port Shepstone Human Rights Centre (PSHRC) to Illovo’s water recovery plant at the Illovo Sugar Limited Umzimkulu Mill. The odour was reportedly so strong that “on certain days and dependent on wind direction, some residents complained that they couldn’t keep their windows and doors open”, and pupils at the Port Shepstone Secondary School “complained that the smell was so dreadful that it affected their concentration at school, with some pupils reporting feeling ill”.
The PSHRC reportedly contacted the Ugu District Municipality’s municipal manager “who later reported that his environmental officials were aware of the complaint and that they were working with Illovo to resolve the problem.” According to the mill’s operation manager, the odour was generated when recent rains “caused a microbiological reaction due to the mixing of minute amounts of sugar and coal in the water which resulted in the formation of hydrogen sulphate”.
The article reports that the Illovo mill’s safety, health and environmental manager has apologised to the community stating, “[w]e are doing everything possible to eliminate this odour”.
Full Disclosure 2015
In an April 2014 news report, a resident of Umgababa, KwaZulu-Natal complained that black flakes are regularly blown onto his property from burning sugarcane fields in a nearby Illovo operation.2
- “Bad smell sniffed out in Port Shepstone”, South Coast Herald, 25 August 2016, available at: http://southcoastherald.co.za/159768/bad-smell-sniffed-out/ (last accessed on 7 November 2016).
- http://southcoastsun.co.za/35679/nothing-sweet-about-sugar-cane-ash/ (last accessed on 7 August 2015).