UPL Requests to Drain Toxic Pesticides into South African Sea

Published on: 02 May 2022
by KnowESG

UPL, an Indian company dealing in agrochemicals, has sought authorisation to flush water tainted by a toxic pesticide leak into the sea or the sewerage system in Durban, South Africa, the company announced recently.

The chemicals, which were confined in a dam that spilled during severe floods that hit the eastern port city earlier this month, have been deemed "extremely harmful to the environment" by local authorities.

During a wave of looting and arson in July of last year, looters set fire to a UPL warehouse containing the chemicals. That has resulted in a chemical spill, which closed beaches, polluted the air, and destroyed marine life. Chemicals such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydrogen chloride, and hydrogen cyanide were released into the dam.

The "toxicity testing of April 11 demonstrated extremely low levels of marine toxicity, capable of being entirely neutralised" by dilution.

"The entire plan is predicated on the widespread acceptance by both the authorities and UPL that it is absurd" to ship 5224 cubic metres of contaminated water to landfills, according to a business representative.

Pesticides, fertilisers, detergents, and petroleum products are among the industrial pollutants that experts are increasingly concerned about contaminating the oceans.

Source: Reuters