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Fire-hit Southern Cape homes being inspected for asbestos poisoning

The Eden District Municipality has appointed a specialist to evaluate all structures in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay that were damaged to identify materials containing asbestos.

FILE: Residential plots, some for sale, some sold, burnt after the fire ripped through the area. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - More than 600 homes affected by the recent fires in the Southern Cape are being inspected for possible asbestos poisoning.

The Eden District Municipality has appointed a specialist to evaluate all structures in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay that were damaged to identify materials containing asbestos.

Hundreds of structures were gutted or badly damaged by the runaway fires in the Garden Route last month.

More than 600 homes are being assessed by specialists who are expected to report back to the Eden District Municipality as soon as possible.

The municipality will then appoint a waste management company to collect and dispose of the asbestos.

Asbestos can pose a health risk and the municipality has urged residents not to disturb soil or dig in contaminated areas.

Residents have been warned to avoid touching asbestos products used to make roofing material, ceiling and floor tiles.

Signage will be placed on sites to notify locals of asbestos-free areas.

GALLERY: The Garden Route fires in pictures

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)