Global NGO Alliance Asks Mondi Paper to Abandon Incinerator Plan, Supports South Durban Communities in Opposing the Project

Manila, Philippines, 27 September 2002 -    An international NGO alliance today asked Mondi Paper to cancel its controversial R200 million incinerator project and shift to clean production to arrest the further degradation of South Durban environment. 

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) issued the call at the launch of its new report documenting the World Bank Group’s continued funding of incineration, a polluting technology receiving intense criticism in many countries, including South Africa. The report entitled “Bankrolling Polluting Technology: The World Bank Group and Incineration” documents 156 World Bank Group projects in the last ten years that have promoted incineration, 76 of which are in Africa.  The Report is available free to download here.

At last Wednesday’s launch in front of the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington DC, the global NGO alliance asked the Bank to stop promoting waste incineration due to its negative impacts on public health and the environment.   "It's outrageous that an institution like the World Bank is using public money to destroy public health," said Von Hernandez, GAIA Co-Coordinator in the Philippines. Incinerators release a wide array of highly hazardous pollutants to the air, water and land. "The Bank must immediately stop funding incineration projects," Hernandez continued.

One set of pollutants of particular concern is known as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), and includes dioxins, furans and PCBs. Incinerators release 69% of dioxins worldwide, which have been shown to cause a wide range of cancers, immune system damage, and reproductive and developmental problems A newly concluded global treaty, the Stockholm Convention, seeks to eliminate the release of POPs, which are often handed down from mothers to unborn children.  South Africa has recently ratified the POPS treaty.

According to the report, incinerators create large quantities of gaseous, solid and sometimes liquid residues.  “Incinerators produce over 200 toxic and potentially toxic substances, which will only exacerbate the high levels of pollution in South Durban,” warned Ann Leonard, GAIA Co-Coordinator in the US.  “The Mondi incinerator in South Durban should not be allowed and this report proves why,” said Leonard.  “It is high time for Mondi to switch to clean production, without incineration,” she added. 

Desmond D’Sa, chair of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), said that “SDCEA feels we already have enough pollution in South Durban without adding dioxins to the picture. We are preparing a legal challenge to this incinerator as government has allowed it to go ahead without an Environmental Impact Assessment, which is totally illegal. SDCEA is determined that this incinerator will not come into being.”

GAIA is deeply concerned with the proposed multifuel fluidised bed combustor at the Mondi Plant in Merebank and has forged links with the SDCEA to put a stop to the plan. 

GAIA, a global alliance of some 300 public interest groups and individuals from 65 countries, works to end the incineration of all types of waste and to promote clean production, zero waste and sustainable waste management systems. 

Media Contacts:
South  Africa:
Desmond D’Sa, phone: 031 4611991 or 083 9826939

Von Hernandez/Manny Calonzo,
Phone: +632-9290376, +632-4364733