South Durban Communities Get Support from Allies in 38 Countries to Stop Mondi Incinerator

27 February 2004, Manila, Philippines - Environmental and civil society groups from 38 countries throw their support behind the escalating campaign of South Durban communities to block Mondi Paper's application for a waste incinerator.

In a global appeal signed by more than 160 groups and citizens from 38 countries, they petitioned the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs not to grant a record of decision for the said application. They urged the Department to reject Mondi's proposal and act in favor of
the people's environmental and health rights as embodied in Section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

Speaking on behalf of the petitioners, Von Hernandez, Co- Coordinator of the Manila-based Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) said: "We support the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), groundWork and other concerned groups in objecting to Mondi's application,
which only adds to the growing litany of toxic assaults already being suffered by the communities, especially the women, youth and children." SDCEA and groundWork are among the GAIA members in South Africa.

The petitioners summed up their reasons for opposing Mondi's incinerator proposal as follows:

* The Mondi incinerator will only worsen the quantity and toxicity of pollutants in the environment and go against the citizens' efforts to clean up the air and the surroundings, i.e., campaign to phase out dirty fuels and technologies.* The Mondi incinerator will only exacerbate the already high incidents of cancers and respiratory illnesses among residents due to their constant exposure to chemical and industrial pollutants.

* The Mondi incinerator will pose critical regulatory and enforcement problems, considering the government's lack of capacity to monitor emissions, test releases and enforce operational regulations.

* The Mondi incinerator will generate by-product persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as dioxins and furans, undermining South Africa's commitment under the Stockholm Convention on POPs.

Added Hernandez: "The impending entry into force of the Stockholm Convention on POPS should discourage the construction of waste incinerators in South Africa or elsewhere for that matter."

To view the global petition sent by GAIA to Ms. Sarah Allan of the KwaZulu-Natal DAE, please log on to www.no-burn.org For further information, please contact:

In Durban:
Karen Read, sdcea2@mweb.co.za, +031-4611991 (phone),
031-4681257 (fax), 082-6493567 (cell)

In Manila:
Manny C. Calonzo, manny.gaia@no-burn.org, +632-9290376
(phone), +632-4364733 (fax)