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Environmental non-compliances reported by affected communities, the media, & NGOs

Complaints about Mondi’s South African operations have often been reported in the media. There are many reports of local opposition (particularly from environmental justice organisation the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance) to Mondi’s proposed multi-fuel boiler in the early 2000s,1 which was initially authorised by the authorities in the absence of proper environmental assessment. During hearings on the Air Quality Bill in 2004, it was stated by a Mr Skosana that Mondi “had been given a licence before the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was completed”2 (it is not clear however whether this refers to the multi-fuel boiler). A Groundwork report from 2003 in relation to the boiler noted that Mondi’s operations had already led to WHO and South African environmental air pollution guidelines being exceeded in the South Durban area.3  The High Court later declared that the exemptions given to Mondi for certain EIA regulations in relation to the boiler were a nullity.4

In public hearings on the National Climate Change Response Policy Green Paper 2010, Mondi was mentioned alongside Sappi and other companies. A private individual criticised the paper industry and suggested specific rules for companies such as Mondi which pollute as part of their operations. This individual also commented that Mondi’s use of water should be monitored as pollution from operations often affected people downstream.5

More recently, it was reported that although sulphur pollution from the Mondi factory in Durban has reduced over the past decade, the mill is still one of the largest industrial sources of CO2 emissions in Durban. The news report stated that based on electricity consumption and other sources Mondi produced more CO2 than any other industry in Durban. Furthermore, although the company reported that it had collected samples of dioxins, furans and mercury in 2010, and that these were below recommended European Union limits, it was also reported that such emissions are only monitored once a year, a practice questioned by SDCEA and the eThekwini Health Department.6