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.



6 March 2015 – 14th anniversary of Kodaikanal - In Kodaikanal, India, Hindustan Unilever operated a second-hand mercury thermometer factory it inherited from Chesebrough Pond's for 18 years. The factory was located adjacent to a dense and biodiverse protected forest that is part of a prominent watershed. On the 16 March 2001, the factory was shut down for violating environmental laws when it was found to have dumped toxic mercury wastes in nearby forests, within its factory premises and in a scrapyard in a crowded part of town. A Government of India report found that the factory's negligence extended even to occupational hygiene and work safety practices. The report found these to be inadequate and concluded that workers and their families had been affected due to mercury exposure of workers in the shop-floor.

The people of Kodaikanal are calling on you for solidarity in their struggle.

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eMalahleni, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, 25 February 2015 – The decision taken yesterday by the Department of Environmental Affairs to grant Eskom permission to postpone complying with the minimum emission standards (MES) is a clear disregard for the people of the already heavily polluted areas of the Highveld and Vaal. Their right to environmental health and well-being as provided for in the Constitution has been ignored, despite South Africa being a democracy for the people.

According to Nomcebo Makhubelo, Coordinator of the Highveld Environmental Justice Network (HEJN):

“We have been opposed to the applications because they meant that industries – in particular Eskom – are ultimately seeking permission to continue destroying the health and lives of ordinary people in the Highveld. It should also be noted that the area is an Air Quality Priority Area, and specific interventions were supposed to bring ambient air quality into compliance with ambient air quality standards. The postponements are a direct contradiction of this goal.”

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Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 24 February 2015 – The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has today announced its decision to approve almost all  Eskom’s applications to postpone compliance with atmospheric emission standards for 14 of its coal-fired power stations [1].

A condition of these postponements is that Eskom is required to “implement an offset programme to reduce [particulate matter] pollution in the ambient/receiving environment. A definite offset implementation plan is expected from Eskom by 31 March 2016”.

As civil society organisations who work with and support many affected communities in South Africa’s pollution hotspots, we are extremely disappointed with the DEA’s decision simply to allow Eskom to continue to pollute in excess of what has been agreed as safe standards of emissions for another five years. Furthermore, the decisions themselves are slapdash, with no attempt to set strict and enforceable conditions to ensure that Eskom comes into compliance in the next five years. This shows a complete disregard for DEA’s constitutional responsibility to protect the health of South Africans.

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