Embargo: Monday, 18 September
SDCEA notes with concern
the latest reports on the link between air pollution and illness in
the South Durban basin. In the latest Mercury report the association
between air pollutants and cancers was highlighted.
This information just adds
to the existing body of evidence that the health of people living
and working in South Durban is being affected by emissions from industry
in the area. For example, a study done by the medical school a few
years ago showed that children in Merebank were much more likely than
their counterparts in Chathsworth to have respiratory problems.
In the light of all this
evidence, SDCEA makes the following demands: Firstly, that proper
studies are done in South Durban to determine conclusively exactly
what chemicals are contained in the cocktail (a range of toxic emissions)
that we breathe each day. Not only must the individual chemicals be
identified but we need to know what the levels are and what the peak
levels are under adverse weather conditions.
Once we have the above
data, a proper health study must be done which will be informed by
the likely risks posed by the chemicals. This study must be scientifically
designed and conducted so that at the end we have reliable evidence
in regard to how the health of residents is or is not being affected
by air pollution.
The people of South Durban
have no intention of relocating. Instead, SDCEA calls on industry
to clean up their act by using available technologies to substantially
reduce their emissions. The air pollution caused by the industry in
South Durban has implications for Durban as a city, as pollution knows
no boundaries and should this situation not be rectified the health
impacts are likely to spread across the bay into the city centre.
This will also have adverse impacts on Durban's tourism potential
and standing as a preferred global destination.