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groundWork is a non-profit environmental justice service and developmental organization working primarily in Southern Africa in the areas of Climate & Energy Justice, Coal, Environmental Health, Global Green and Healthy Hospitals, and Waste.

SOME OF OUR LATEST NEWS

PORT EXPANSION SQUASHED – VICTORY FOR COMMUNITIES AND ENVIRONMENT

Durban, South Africa, 25 August 2016 – The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) has recently won a protracted battle with Transnet after it was announced that the Durban dig-out port project would be delayed until 2032.

As a result of SDCEA’s organised resistance over many years, the organisation was in discussion with Transnet, of which the final outcome was this latest announcement. This is an important victory for SDCEA and the communities it represents, as it means retention of the community space as a residential zone, and no displacement of residents and workers such as the old Durban airport farmers.

The organisation, however, has come out stating that the fight for a community-driven development model in south Durban is far from over. 

Read the full media advisory here.

FAILURE TO ESTABLISH CLEAR GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSION REDUCTION OUTCOMES REFERRED TO PUBLIC PROTECTOR

Today a range of civil society organisations are taking their call for urgent clarification of greenhouse gas emissions objectives to the Public Protector. The complaint regards failure to implement provisions on mitigation in the National Climate Change Response White Paper, adopted by Cabinet in October 2011; most particularly the setting of "desired emission reduction outcomes" (DEROs) for 2030 and 2050, which was supposed to be completed within two years.

Read the full AIDC press release here.

Download the full text of the complaint to the Public Protector here.

CITY SILENT ON KELVIN POWER STATION FACTS: EARTHLIFE AFRICA TO DEMONSTRATE

Johannesburg, 24th of August 2016 - Earthlife Africa Johannesburg will protest on Thursday the 25th of August outside the Kelvin Power Station located in Kempton Park in the East of Johannesburg.

The demonstration will take place from 10: 00 am.

Supporters of Earthlife Africa Johannesburg are demanding answers from the City of Johannesburg about how much the power station actually costs Johannesburg residents in terms of electricity costs and in terms of pollution and potential health risks.

Read the full media advisory here.

GREENING GREY’S HOSPITAL

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 23 August 2016 – Grey’s Hospital is the latest health care facility to join the internationally recognised Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) [1] initiative, which serves to create a global network of hospitals and health systems seeking to improve environmental performance, while sharing best practices and finding solutions to the common challenges they share. This Thursday, Grey’s Hospital will launch its “Greening Grey’s” awareness campaign among staff, patients and visitors.

“Grey’s Hospital became a member of the GGHH initiative in May because we wanted to make a difference to the lives we serve. It is our social responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint as a health care facility,” explains Dr Kandolo Benoit Bilenge, CEO of Grey’s Hospital.

Read the full media advisory here.

PIETERMARITZBURG CHOKING ON PERSISTANT AIR POLUTION

Fire at the Pietermaritzburg landfill site. Photo: Mark Wing

August 17, 2016 - Pietermaritzburg residents are coughing and choking on the persistent air pollution hanging over the city as doctors and hospitals battle with an influx of chest infections and an increase in reported asthma cases.

A series of recent blazes has added to the dense pollution leaving a noticeable cloud of smog looming over Pietermaritzburg.

Last week’s disastrous fire at the City’s landfill site resulted in tremendous amounts of noxious gasses being released into the atmosphere, which affected the operation of many schools and businesses in close proximity due to the health risks of breathing in the fumes.

Read the full Maritzburg Sun article here.

GROUNDWORK REFLECTS ON THE OCCASION OF ITS 17TH ANNIVERSARY

August 16, 2016 - groundWork recently celebrated its 17th anniversary. Writing in Oilwatch, groundWork's Executive Director, Bobby Peek notes that:

"It has been an exiting 17 years. Critically, we have made great strides in keeping the flames of environmental justice alive and burning strongly. But despite this we feel that the need for our work is ever more so critical now as there is an onslaught by the alignment of government and corporate power that seeks to undermine democracy for the furtherance of the elite wealth project"

Read Bobby's full comments and other interesting items in the June edition of the OILWATCH Africa newsletter here.

SASOL USA EXPANSION MET BY FIERCE OPPOSITION FROM SOUTH DURBAN ENVIRONMENTAL STALWART

Durban, South Africa, 15 August 2016 – As Sasol edges in closer to build the second largest gas-to-liquid (GTL) facility in the world in Mossville, Louisiana, environmental justice activist from the South Durban Basin, Desmond D'Sa today meets with the community which is set to be yet another of the fuel giant's displaced victims.

Sasol's Louisiana facility will turn natural gas into chemicals, diesel and other fuels. It will be the biggest project of its kind in the US, and the second-biggest GTL plant in the world, producing 96,000 b/d of diesel and other liquids.

Mossville is an historic community in southwest Louisiana that African American people began to settle in before the Civil War. They are determined to keep their land free of polluting industries.

Read the full media advisory here.

ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANISATIONS CALL ON GOVERNMENT TO TIGHTEN REQUIREMENTS FOR REPORTING ON EMISSIONS OF GREENHOUSE GASES

August 10, 2016 - Environmental justice organisations groundWork, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance and the Highveld Environmental Justice Network, with the support of the Centre for Environmental Rights, have called on government to tighten proposed requirements for reporting of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by industry.

The Centre, on behalf of the above organisations, submitted comments to the Department of Environmental Affairs in July 2016 on the Draft National Greenhouse Gas Reporting Regulations, 2016.

The draft Regulations are intended to regulate the reporting of GHG emissions by mainly industrial facilities for purposes of, among other things, establishing and maintaining a national GHG inventory.

Read the full media advisory here.

FUELLING THE FIRE: NEW COAL TECHNOLOGIES SPELL DISASTER FOR CLIMATE

25 July 2016 – A new report by Friends of the Earth International demonstrates how Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) and Coal Chemical technologies threaten to destabilise the earth’s climate and irreversibly damage local environments.

The report, launched today, comes in the wake of UCG being banned in Queensland, Australia. There is interest in and development of UCG in Europe, Russia, Canada, the US, China and India. It is currently under moratorium in Scotland.

The report includes case studies from Australia, China, South Africa, the UK and the USA.

Read the full media advisory here.

THE 12 QUESTIONS EVERY CLIMATE ACTIVIST HEARS

19 July 2016 - The Climate Reality Project has published a handy guide to the most common arguments against the reality of man-made climate change and why they’re totally wrong.  You can download a copy of the guide here.

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH INTERNATIONAL IN SOLIDARITY WITH BLACK LIVES MATTER

Washington DC, USA, 14 July 2016 - In response to the two senseless killing of African Americans by police in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights, Minn., the deadly attack that killed five police officers in Dallas, and the July 13 anniversary of Black Lives Matter, Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica has released a statement which you can read here.

GLOBAL GREEN AND HEALTHY HOSPITAL INITIATIVE

Pietermaritzburg, 8 July 2016 - groundWork, through the Global Green and Healthy Hospital (GGHH) initiative, has been working with health care leaders and hospitals for the past six years on the issues of sustainable waste management strategies that will promote environmental health in both the hospital and the environment.

The decision by the Department of Health in KwaZulu-Natal to join the GGHH initiative is a timely boost and a step in the right direction. Six hospitals in the province – Edendale, Ngwelezana, Inkosi Albert Luthuli, Port Shepstone, King Edward and Grey – have all pledged to promote public health by continuously reducing their environmental impact and ultimately eliminating their contribution to the burden of disease.

For more on this story download groundWork's latest quarterly newsletter here.

SOMKHELE COMMUNITY PROTEST AGAINST INJUSTICES CARRIED OUT BY COAL MINE

Somkhele community protests coal mine

Somkhele/Matubatuba, South Africa, 4 July 2016 – Today, members of the community in Somkhele took to the streets once against to protest against the corruption and injustices associated with the coal mine that borders their community.

This mine is supported by traditional leaders, who have themselves allegedly been corrupted by the mine officials. This march has strong solidarity from the people in Fuleni, a nearby rural community that are themselves fighting the onslaught of a new coal mine proposed by Ibutho Coal. The mine officials at Somkhele consequently obtained an interdict against the protesters. However, the march went ahead and the provincial Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) came to receive the memorandum. The community declared the mine closed in front of the DMR, until the mine officials came to address the community on their issues.

GOLDMAN PRIZE LAUREATES SIGN PETITION TO STOP LAND GRAB IN LIBERIA

1 July 2016 – Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), a palm oil company, holds hundreds of thousands hectares of land as an agricultural concession. GVL is now pushing to permit logging for export in its concession. International environmentalists, including Goldman Prize Laureates, are calling for a ban on the export of such timber to prevent the further destruction of rainforests.

To add your voice to the petition to stop the selling out of Liberia’s unique forest heritage click here.

To read the letter from the Goldman Prize Laureates to the Forestry Development Authority click here.

 

For more news and our news archives click here.