Biodiversity & Toxics

The toxics campaign is directed at the poisoning of the planet and the person that is increasing and which threatens all life forms.

One of Earthlife’s most dramatic successes was the prevention of the citing of a hazardous waste facility at Chloorkop. We have also campaigned against air pollution which involved demonstrations and the decoration of three prominent downtown sculptures in Johannesburg.

In past years the toxics campaign has focused on incineration and the prevention of the proliferation of incinerators. This involved input into Environmental Impact Assessments.

A current focus is the struggle against the pollution of the groundwater around Vanderbjlpark by Mittal Steel (formerly Iscor) which has had devastating impacts on the health and livelihoods of the surrounding community. Mittal is now the third richest man in the world, and our role in this David and Goliath type struggle involves:

1. Ongoing research – those interested could access the research report ‘Throwing Stones at a giant’ by Jacklyn Cock and Victor Munnik on the web at http://www.ukzn.ac.za/ccs/default.asp?5,14 – scroll down toward the bottom of the page and look for the article under the 2004 round.

2. Fundraising for a legal claim for compensation on behalf of two smallholders from the area.

3. Involvement in the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance, which has now appointed a co-ordinator, obtained an office in Vanderbjlpark and is growing from strength to strength. More information on this very important organisation of which the Friends of Steel Valley (including representation by Earthlife)is one of 15 affiliate members is available on research report mentioned above.

Anyone interested in joining this struggle should contact Jacklyn Cock on cockj@social.wits.ac.za

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