News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday February 17th 2019

Tik manufacture poses serious environmental risks

Yugendree Naidoo

                               The negative social consequences of methamphetamine usage in Cape Town are widely documented, but experts have also raised concerns about the potentially damaging impact the drug might be having on the environment.

More commonly referred to as tik, several toxic chemicals are used to make the drug.

Information provided by senior superintendent Deven Naicker, national narcotics head for organised crime with the SAPS, shows that 13 kilograms and 1,953 units (tablets) were confiscated from labs countrywide that were manufacturing crystal methamphetamine during January to December 2007.

“It’s very concerning because six kilograms of highly toxic waste is produced from every 1kg manufactured,” he said.

According to the United Nations, only 7% to 10% of all drugs being manufactured worldwide are confiscated through police interference, with the remaining amount on the streets.

Based on the information provided by Naicker, this means that 78 kilogrammes of waste would have been generated from the 13 kilograms of seized drugs.

But if the UN estimate is accepted and this represents 7% to 10% of all drugs, then the amount of waste generated would be between 546 and 780 kilogrammes.

Some of the basic ingredients in methamphetamine manufacture can include flammable and volatile solvents such as methanol, ether, benzene, methylene chloride, trichloroethane, toluene, muriatic acid, sodium hydroxide and ammonia.
A website affiliated to the Partnership for a Drug-free America called Methamphetamine Resources, Tools and Information, states that chemical by products from methamphetamine are found in parks and forests and can linger in soil and groundwater for years, posing immediate and long term environmental health risks.
“The chemicals are highly toxic, and waste dumped into streams, rivers, fields, backyards and sewage systems can contaminate water resources for humans and animals,” the website states.
The head of the police’s forensic science and chemical laboratory in Cape Town, Commander Jaco Westraat, said methamphetamine labs were a reality and “very concerning” because of the impacts of manufacturing the drug.
“It’s very concerning because there are by products as a result of manufacturing the drug which are then simply disposed down the drain and eventually reach the environment.”

He said larger labs on farms that manufactured between 30 to 40 kilogrammes at a time could cause serious problems, with toxic waste leading to contaminated water.
This could place people using boreholes at risk from contaminated water, said Westraat.
But Professor Henk Bouwman, from the North West University’s School of Environmental Science, said there was no research on the subject in South Africa due to a lack of funding.

However, he predicted that it would be a problem in terms of water contamination risks.

Bouwman said it would be “worrying and seriously concerning” if benzene, one of the ingredients, were released.

He said benzene was carcinogenic – a cancer forming agent – and therefore also posed a risk to those working with it.

South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (Sanca) social worker Nicolette Kwalie said she was not aware of benzene being used to manufacture small amounts of tik. However, she said benzene was more likely to be used in the production of tik on a larger scale in well-equipped labs.- West Cape News

Tags: methamphetamine, tik

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2 Responses to “Tik manufacture poses serious environmental risks”

  1. joseph says:

    why you write so much….too much to read G

  2. Raynard says:

    why are yo complaining about to much to read lol dummy thats all aducated stuff, stuff that is important to read that you must know

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