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Stop green, climate jobs being incinerated - join us and sign the petition!

Hundreds of waste reclaimers and small recyclers in South Africa stand to lose their climate-friendly jobs and be forced to return to a life of poverty. In a country with an over 45% unemployment rate, waste recycling becomes a source of income for those who would otherwise be impoverished.

Diverting valuable waste, such as plastic, cardboard, tin, glass and organics off the landfill to be recycled, also mitigates climate change by stopping the creation of methane through decomposition and having to create new landfills.

This will go up in smoke if the Department of Environmental Affairs agrees to private company Enviroserve's proposed construction of a waste-to-energy incinerator to take in general waste in Kempton Park, Gauteng.

In the short term, incinerators burn this waste to create energy, however, its social and environmental impacts outweigh the minimal energy it creates. Toxic air pollution and ash landfills are the main by-products produced by incinerators. This impacts on people's health in general and contaminates soil and groundwater with poisonous chemicals and heavy metals.  

In the long term, if materials are not being recycled, the extraction of more raw materials will take place through industrial practices that are destructive and promote climate change.

Take action now by clicking here to sign the petition calling on the Department of Environmental Affairs to promote green, climate jobs and not pass this waste-to-energy incinerator. Together with hard copy petitions signed by waste reclaimers across the country, the online petition will be sent to the Minister of the Department of Environmental Affairs in making sure that they do not approve the incinerator.

PLANNING POVERTY: NEW REPORT UNPACKS NDP THROUGH SOCIO-ENVIRONMENTAL LENS

Durban, South Africa,
15 December 2014
– The rhetoric of big infrastructure projects promoting development, employment and economic growth is at the heart of government's National Development Plan (NDP). Planning Poverty: The NDP and the infrastructure of destruction released by groundWork, examines this development model and argues that these plans instead represent an assault on people and their environments in the interests of corporate profit. Far from eliminating poverty and reducing inequality as it claims, the NDP will reproduce poverty and inequality.

News on the dig-out port has been scarce since July when it was announced that phase 1 of construction will not meet the expected completion date of 2020. Transnet announced that as a result of technical issues, the start date would be delayed to a date yet to be announced. Other factors for the delay include financial constraints and legislative processes, however further details are unknown.

The new port is part of the Strategic Infrastructure Project (SIP) 2, which is the Durban-Free State-Gauteng logistics and industrial corridor. Costs for the projected have continued to escalate and estimates are projected to between R75 billion and R100 billion. The project in its entirety could take between 20 to 40 years to be fully completed.

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WASTE PICKERS TO TAKE TO THE STREETS

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa - 10th December 2014 - Approximately 500 waste recyclers or pickers will take to the streets of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, this week Thursday, December 11th, 2014, after three years of waiting for the construction of a materials recycling facility (MRF) at the New England Road landfill site. This march is targeted at the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) which has neglected its oversight responsibility over the local and district municipalities in Pietermaritzburg, and also ignored the responsibilities of the two municipalities within this agreement.

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ANGLO AMERICAN’S NEGATIVE INFLUENCE ON CLIMATE POLICIES EXPOSED

Durban, South Africa & Lima, Peru, 8 December 2014 – Multinational corporations such as Anglo American undermine crucial climate policies and promote false solutions, which allow them to profit from the climate crisis, according to a new report released today [8 December] during the UN climate talks.

The activities of mining giant Anglo American are examined in the new report, which focuses on one of the world's biggest open-pit coal mine El Cerrejón, in La Guajira, Colombia. British-South African company Anglo American is one of its three shareholders.

Anglo American continues to expand its climate-wrecking dirty business model while using green funds, offset mechanisms and dodgy techno-fixes to present a green image, according to the report 'Anglo American's dirty energy lobby and its false climate solutions' which was released at the 'Peoples Summit against Climate Change' in Lima.

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REMEMBERING BHOPAL, 30 YEARS LATER

Durban, South Africa, 3rd December 2014 – In the early hours of this morning we met at the Indian Consulate in Durban to commemorate the lives lost and the injuries sustained from the gas leak at the Dow Chemicals plant in Bhopal, India which took place three decades ago. It was an intimate candlelit gathering of 15 people, with people sharing their own experiences of visits to the site and the town of Bhopal.

We acknowledged that despite 30 years having passed by, people in Bhopal continue to live daily with the pain of having lost thousands of to the disaster as well as continuing to bear the impact of an environment contaminated with dangerous heavy metals. At two minutes past midnight we held a minute of silence and once outside the building let off a siren in an act of remembrance and solidarity with those continuing to challenge both the government and company.

Our call is for the Indian government to take the company to court and to put the people’s health needs first. A letter with a list of demands was emailed to the Consul General on Tuesday afternoon and stuck on their door early this morning.

Let us not allow another decade to pass without real action being taken for the people of Bhopal.

NO MORE BHOPALS! 30 YEARS ON, THOUSANDS DEAD AND COUNTING - Midnight candlelit vigil to be held at Indian Consulate

Durban, South Africa, 2nd December 2014 – At two minutes past midnight tomorrow, 30 years would have passed since the tragic disaster at the Dow Chemical plant in Bhopal, India where a gas leak resulted in 7 000 deaths immediately following the incident, 25 000 more dead in the following years and 150 000 are today severely disabled by the long term effects of the gas and/or by the drinking water contaminated with toxic waste that leached from the factory site.

Formerly known as Union Carbide, the American-based Dow Chemicals plant in Bhopal, India leaked about 30 tons of deadly gases such as methyl isocynate in the early hours of 3rd December 1984, killing thousands as they slept. This, as a result of all six safety systems being dysfunctional, which the company itself admitted to not being proven and tested technology in the first place.

Five years later, the company and the Indian government came to a settlement, which compensated survivors suffering from chronic diseases and/or debilitating physical injuries a once off payment of US $500. The anniversary comes just months after the company’s CEO, Warren Anderson, died at the age of 92 in September.

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SHALE GAS INCREASING THREAT TO CLIMATE, ENVIRONMENT, COMMUNITIES WORLDWIDE

Brussels, Belgium, 1 December 2014 - As world climate talks open in Peru today, new research shows how fracking is likely to further accelerate climate change, destroy water sources and infringe on communities' rights worldwide unless urgent action is taken to stop the 'dash-for-gas'.

The report, from Friends of the Earth Europe, maps the expansion of the shale gas industry outside Europe and North America with examples of 11 key countries on three continents. It finds that multinational oil and gas companies such as Total, Shell and Chevron are moving into increasingly vulnerable countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia where the ecosystems, communities and authorities are even less unable to cope with the impacts of extraction.

Countries such as Mexico, China, Argentina and South Africa, are in earthquake-prone or water-scarce regions and are most exposed to the impacts of climate change. The pursuit of fracking in these countries is likely to exacerbate the climate, environment, social and human rights problems they already face.

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CALL TO ACTION TO REJECT REDD+ AND EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES AND TO CONFRONT CAPITALISM AND DEFEND LIFE AND TERRITORIES

COP20, Lima, December 2014 - On the occasion of the UN climate change negotiations in Lima, Peru – known as COP20 – we warn that rejecting REDD+ and ‘environmental services’, under the ‘green economy’ umbrella, is a central part of our struggle against capitalism and extractive industries and in the defense of territories, life and Mother Earth.

The United Nations’ climate agreements have failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, the mechanisms and policies that have emerged from these agreements – including REDD+ – have allowed for the continuation, legitimization and intensification of destructive activities such as mining, oil, gas and carbon extraction, tree monocultures and agroindustry, among others.

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VICTORY FOR VAAL COMMUNITIES AS THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEAL ORDERS ARCELORMITTAL TO RELEASE ENVIRONMENTAL RECORDS

Bloemfontein, South Africa, 26 November 2014 – In a hard-hitting judgement handed down today, the Supreme Court of Appeal ordered ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd (AMSA) to release various environmental records to the Vaal Environmental Justice Organisation (VEJA) [1], and to pay the communities' costs.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) refused AMSA's appeal against the September 2013 High Court judgement ordering AMSA to release its environmental “Master Plan”, as well as documents relating to its Vaal Disposal Site, and unanimously upheld the High Court judgement. This means that AMSA must make the documents available to VEJA by 17 December 2014.

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PINOCCHIO AWARDS WINNERS: SHELL, GDF SUEZ AND SAMSUNG

Paris, France, 19 November 2014 – After the launch of the public vote on October 9th, Friends of the Earth France, in partnership with Peuples Solidaires – ActionAid France and CRID (Research and Information Centre for Development), put an end to the suspense at the Pinocchio Awards prize-giving ceremony this evening at La Java (Paris) and announced 2014’s big winners: Shell, GDF Suez and Samsung (1).

This year, a new record was set for the number of votes: over 61,000 votes in total, which demonstrates citizens’ growing outrage about the severe impact multinational corporations’ activities are having on society and the environment.

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SOUTH AFRICA: LITTLE INTENTION OF FIGHTING THE CLIMATE BATTLE - Environmental Affairs Climate Change Dialogue begins as world remembers late anti-Shell activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa

Johannesburg & Graaf Reinet, South Africa, 10 November 2015 – With Royal Dutch Shell having been granted the largest concession to frack for shale gas in South Africa, today is the 19th year the world commemorates Nigerian State’s assassination of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other environmental justice activists fighting Shell in the Niger Delta. This, a sad irony as the Department of Minerals Resources (DMR) has recently announced its push for fracking as early as 2016, despite the lack of sufficient research on the social and environmental impacts.

Contradictions continue to abound between South Africa’s energy policy and its climate commitments. Today, the Minister of Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) opens the National Climate Change Dialogue in Johannesburg. On top of Eskom’s heavy reliance on CO2 emitting coal, the Petroleum Agency of South Africa is supporting the DMR in turbo-charging the country’s move to fracking. A credible response to climate change requires that all exploration for oil, gas and coal stops now as existing reserves contain as much as seven times the ‘carbon budget’ associated with the agreed commitment to limit warming to 2°C.

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VAAL ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ALLIANCE’S STRUGGLE AGAINST ARCELORMITTAL SA GOES TO BLOEMFONTEIN

Bloemfontein, South Africa, 5 November 2014 – Tomorrow, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein will hear why ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd believes that it should not have to release records regarding the environmental impacts of its operations at Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging to community-based organisation the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance(VEJA.

In September 2013, the South Gauteng High Court ordered Amsa to hand over records of Amsa’s Environmental Master Plan and Vaal Disposal Site to VEJA. Amsa is now appealing that High Court decision in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

VEJA’s first request for information under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000, made in 2011, was for a copy of Amsa’s Environmental Master Plan, compiled by the company in 2002, and setting out how it would rehabilitate pollution at its Vanderbijlpark site. In February 2012, VEJA also requested records relating to the closure and rehabilitation of the company’s Vaal Disposal Site, situated in Vereeniging, after the company had illegally dumped hazardous waste here.

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