DURBAN, Dec 25 — Environmental experts are assessing the damage of a large fuel spill near Hillcrest, west of Durban after a pipeline running from Durban to Johannesburg burst, spilling close to 200,000 litres of diesel.
The spillage was from the Transnet Hillcrest pump station. A local non-governmental organization (NGO), Ground Work, said Wednesday that people who live in the vicinity must be evacuated.
Meanwhile, Transnet Pipelines, a member of the South African rail, port and pipeline company, Transnet, has confirmed that clean-up operations are in place but that rehabilitation of the affected gardens and farmlands will be a long-term process.
Ground Work Director Bobby Peak said he suspected that the pipeline burst was the result of poor maintenance, while also issuing a word of concern around the possible health implications of the spill.
“The people in the area will now be exposed to high levels of carbon fumes which are cancer-causing and my advice would be based on experience and in other parts of the world and in other parts of South Africa that these people need to be evacuated. It’s like sitting at a petrol station and breathing in those fumes which is not ideal,” said Peak.