South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
 
PRESS STATEMENT
 
18 September 2002
 
South Durban communities slam government's decision to allow Mondi to burn coal!
Durban, South Africa, 18 September 2002. The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance is outraged that government gave Mondi Paper the green light last night to switch from gas to coal.

Yesterday, the government held a workshop in South Durban aimed at getting community input on the phasing out of dirty fuels in the South Durban basin. Yet just hours later, government handed down a record of decision to allow Mondi to build an incinerator to burn waste as a fuel source, and furthermore agreed that this could be powered by coal instead of gas! This move will introduce dangerous dioxins into the air of South Durban and further increase the already high pollution levels.

This is a shocking move by government, which is currently using South Durban as a test case for a national air quality management plan. On a national level, government is promoting gas as a clean energy. These empty words have been easily bulldozed by industry for the sake of higher profits.

The results of allowing Mondi to introduce coal and set up a new incinerator and biotrace fluidized boiler are sure to be a massive increase in respiratory diseases for the already sick South Durban communities. It is grossly unfair to introduce dioxins into the air of South Durban which cause lung cancer. South Durban residents are already suffering from asthma as a result of refinery pollution.

SDCEA is also puzzled that Mondi's attempt to set up a coal fired incinerator was rejected as far back as 1998 even by the World Bank, but yet this plan has mysteriously resurfaced now with the approval of the so-called environmentally friendly government. That a plan to poison thousands of poor people in South Durban follows hot on the heels of the World Summit on Sustainable Development is a further irony, and one that cannot be tolerated.

Incineration world-wide is known and recognised as a dirty, toxic technology. SDCEA is investigating legal action against government and Mondi to stop them from building this incinerator. We demand an immediate halt to this attack on the poor or mass action will follow.

________________________________________________________________________________
For comment, please call SDCEA Chairperson Desmond D'Sa on 083 9826939