The Oceana fishmeal factory started production on 20 January 2017 and residents of Hout Bay have been subjected to the terrible and unconstitutional odour pollution for the past two weeks.
Fresh Air for Hout Bay (FAHB) remains committed to finding a solution to this situation and over the past six months a lot has been going on. We will provide a more thorough update soon, but here are the most important things you need to know based on the questions and comments we have received.
What is the current situation?
- In 2016 Oceana announced that new scrubbers would be installed. This system has not been installed yet and is still under fabrication; it is expected the new system will be in place by the second quarter of 2017. Please note: this will have no impact on the amount of odour pollution experienced by the community. The scrubbers do not decrease the smell, they simply improve the efficiency of Oceana’s operations, as has been confirmed by both Oceana and the City of Cape Town.
- Oceana’s Atmospheric Emissions License (AEL) is due for renewal on 1 November 2017. The AEL is a key license needed to operate and Oceana must apply to the City to obtain it. As part of this application, Oceana is required to conduct a public participation process where the public can comment on whether they think the license should be granted. This is an important opportunity for us and we need to be prepared. We must collectively demonstrate the negative impact the pollution has and we need your support – write a testimonial, sign the petition, participate in a demonstration and help us show that this industry is not acceptable in our community. We will need thousands of supporters for this and more information will be shared soon.
- The Housing Directorate completed a health study in 2016 that allegedly revealed the health hazards associated with Oceana’s factory emissions, so much so that the planned housing development was cancelled (as reported by the Sentinel Newspaper). The MAYCO Member for Health and the MAYCO Member for Human Settlements have declined to either comment or provide the report, and FAHB is working to obtain the official report for clarification. What it indicates, however, is that the emissions do have health implications and this is of serious concern for the community. We need you to document all the negative health impacts you experience. Keep a list and include this in your testimonial and communication with the City.
What can you do right now?
- Understand the situation. Many of you are asking the same questions and making the same comments – this does not help to find a solution so we need you to become better informed about the situation. Read our easy Did You Know Facts for an overview and visit our What’s the Deal? section of the website. We need people to be informed if we want to change the situation.
- Write to the City of Cape Town and register your complaint. We need the MAYCO Members to be aware of the impact this has on our community. The more emails you send, the more they will understand the severity of the situation. Use the email addresses provided on our Home page and be sure to include honest and accurate information.
- Register your complaint on Oceana’s website. Do it every time you experience the smell because we need to develop a database of how people are impacted.
- Write a testimonial. We need to officially document how the smell impacts your health, your business and your general well-being. Write a formal letter detailing this information, have it stamped at the police station by a Commissioner of Oaths, and email it to us. We need to collect as many of these as possible over the next six months to submit in time for the AEL application. FAHB will be developing a simple guide for this and an on-line form that you can fill out to make it easier.
- Register on the FAHB website. Encourage people to register on this website – this is the official database of our interest group and we need as much support as possible. We will be using this platform for all our communication with more information about how you can get involved.
What is FAHB doing?
Over the next few months, FAHB is planning on doing the following:
- Meet with the Hout Bay Ward Councillor to discuss the situation and find a way forward for engaging with the City.
- Meet with various MAYCO members to discuss a way forward.
- Provide a thorough update of all activities that have happened to date.
- Develop all the necessary forms and documents to make it easier for you to get involved.
Please remember that FAHB is run by a group of volunteers and we need as much help as we can get. If you have ideas, skills, contacts, research ability or anything that might be of use, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This situation will only be changed by all of us working together so please share your ideas and get involved as much as possible.