31 March 2004 - The USA activists, on an environmental justice exchange organised by groundWork, made their last stop in Cape Town today. The group met with Mr Andy Birkenshaw of the Table View Residents Association, who took them on a tour around the Caltex refinery.

The group was ‘warmly welcomed’ by huge flaring at the Caltex refinery in Table View. Jesus Torres from California said that it was shocking to see a refinery flaring so much and at the same time nothing was being emitted from the stack. He also said “It seems much like in my community, where refineries try to look clean by reducing emissions out of the stack so you can’t see the emissions, but with a flare that huge it is obvious that there is something coming out of the refinery.”

The group were also taken to the air monitor, which is about 2km from the refinery. Andy Birkenshaw highlighted that with the air monitor so far away from the refinery it is only good to measure ambient air and not what is coming out of the refinery. This relates directly to the criticisms lodged against the air quality bill. The main concern of the bill is that it is based on regulating ambient air, rather than focusing on reduction of air pollution at sources, at industry emission standards.

The group also went to a landfill site of domestic and hazardous waste, and an incinerator in Table View. The regional manager and waste disposal managers of Enviroserve took the group on a tour of the site. Although, Enviroserve claims that incineration is the best way to deal with medical waste, they do admit that better segregation of waste will limit the need for incineration. groundWork is against incineration as it poses an added health and environmental risk.

For more information please contact Ardiel Soeker 082-940 8669.