• Up to 3,000t of toxic sludge remains piled up in fire-blackened warehouses in KwaZulu-Natal, a grim monument to the apparent powerlessness of SA's environmental guardians to hold multinational companies accountable for industrial waste legacies.

Stored on a hillside that tumbles down to the Inanda valley and Durban's largest water storage dam, the stockpile of brain-poisoning mercury waste has been here for more than 30 years while government officials dither, argue or exchange technical and legal missives with representatives of the UK-based chemical company Thor.

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