Our expert says:
Speaking generally, sugar production does produce some harmful air emissions, including particulate matter, combustion products and volatile organic compounds. But the level of pollutants differs from one refinery to the next, as do the potential health effects. Often it isn’t known just how serious the health effects may be. But even if the health effects aren’t serious, just the fact that you are worried by the smell is definitely grounds to complain – and should be taken very seriously by the sugar industry and authorities. As a general precaution, try to stay indoors with the windows closed when the pollution seems bad. This is particularly important if you have health problems like a respiratory condition, or if you experience worsening of symptoms from the pollution.
To get a more specific picture of emissions at this refinery, the South African Sugar Association’s Environmental Department suggested contacting the Operations Manager at Tongaat-Huletts, a Mr MacNaughton. I have emailed him, but not received a response. His phone number is 031 460 0111.
Bobby Peek of the environmental organisation Groundwork suggests that you contact the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance at 031 468 9069, 031 461 1991.
Please let me know if you feel you aren’t getting anywhere with this problem, and I will make further enquiries.
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