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UPL Proposes Releasing Contaminated Water Into South African Sea

  • Company, municipality at odds over water toxicity evaluation
  • eThekwini municipality says it hasn’t been given adequate data
A member of a spill cleaning crew removes dead fish from the river in the uMhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve in Durban on July 18, 2021.

A member of a spill cleaning crew removes dead fish from the river in the uMhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve in Durban on July 18, 2021.

Photographer: Guillem Sartorio/AFP/Getty Images

UPL Ltd. has proposed releasing water contaminated by a pesticides spill in the eastern South African city of Durban into the sea or municipal sewers.

While the Indian agro-chemical firm said experts it contracted have since late 2021 deemed the water fit for disposal using these methods, the city says that as recently as April 11 storm-water contained in a pollution control dam “remained highly toxic to the environment.” Concern about the spill and its after effects were heightened this month after the heaviest rains in at least 60 years caused the dam to overflow.