NMB municipality must urgently clamp down on hazardous dust fallout levels

Issued by Cllr Annette Lovemore – DA NMB Spokesperson for Public Health
01 Sep 2022 in Press Statements

The results from an official dust fallout survey have confirmed that residents and workers living and working in and around the Markman industrial area are being subjected to a massive health hazard on a daily basis.

The survey was carried out by Nelson Mandela Bay’s municipal air quality officers in the Markman industrial area during October, November and December 2021.

We have now written to the City Manager requesting immediate intervention and report back on steps to be implemented to mitigate this disaster.

It is immediately clear from the survey that levels in Buick Street, Chevrolet Street and St George’s Street regularly exceed the level at which immediate notification of health authorities is necessary and immediate investigation is required.

In its report on the sampling the metro states that “the exercise has been a success in identifying areas where dust pollution levels exceeded the prescribed levels and were unsuitable for human health.”

The municipal report recommends the following action steps:

  • Continuous dust fall monitoring over a period of a year;
  • All facilities “located in areas where the standards were exceeded will now be instructed to undertake dust fall monitoring and source apportionment and to report to the municipality on a monthly basis;
  • These facilities “will be instructed to develop and submit dust management plans to the NMBM air quality officer for approval”.

Not one of these action steps has been implemented. The City Manager must now provide a timeline for the implementation of the listed action steps, and for regular reporting to the Public Health portfolio committee and to all businesses in the danger areas. Knowing that this very real risk exists and taking no action is surely pure negligence, and cannot be countenanced.

Lives and livelihoods are at risk in the Markman area as a result of the ever-present threat of manganese ore dust. Urgent action is required to mitigate the risks.

Let’s get NMB working again.