Opposition growing to proposed Sasolburg incinerator

28 August 2001 - International and national organisations are lending their support to local Sasolburg residents who are opposing a proposal for the construction of a hazardous waste incinerator in Sasolburg.

The proposal, by Cape Town-based Peacock Bay Environmental Services (PBES), is currently undergoing an EIA process. Peacock Bay have previously been involved in attempts to illegally import hazardous waste into South Africa.

Nicholas Kasa from the Sasolburg Environmental Committee says: "The construction of a hazardous waste incinerator in Sasolburg will add to the very serious pollution problems already existing in this area. The incidence of pollution-related illnesses is already high. We do not want our families to suffer even more from breathing toxic emissions from the incinerator. I call on all residents of Sasolburg to unite and oppose this proposal".

Kasa, together with another community member and representatives from the Sasolburg Council, met with the MEC for Environment, Mr Belot, last week to discuss their concerns with this proposal.

National organisation, groundWork, as well as international organisations like theIndigenous Environmental Network, the Environmental Justice Fund and the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, to name a few, have also written to the MEC and to National Minister Valli Moosa stating their very strong opposition to this project.

"Incineration is an out-dated, polluting technology," says Ardiel Soeker of groundWork. "Incinerators produce over 190 toxic emissions including dioxins, furans, mercury and lead. Some of these chemicals cause cancer and others have been linked to reproductive problems, still-births, birth defects, learning problems, reduced sperm count, weakened immune systems, and respiratory problems amongst others," he said.

"Across the world, from Europe to the States to the Philippines, incinerators are being closed down and replaced with non-polluting alternative technologies. Safe alternatives to incineration exist and we encourage South Africa to actively investigate these alternatives, and not to allow the influx of incinerators into this beautiful country," says Neil Tangri of the US based Essential Action.

All Sasolburg residents are invited to attend a meeting on the 30th August 2001 at 17h30 at Iketsetseng Comprehensive School. At this meeting a submission opposing this project will be formulated to be sent to the Free State MEC for Environment.

For more information and photos contact:
Ardiel Soeker, groundWork, tel: 082 940 8669
Nicholas Kasa, Sasolburg Environmental Committee, tel: 082 960 4120
Neil Tangri, Essential Action, tel: 033-342 5662