Environmental non-compliances reported by affected communities, the media, & NGOs
Many of the complaints regarding pollution by PPC relate to opposition by communities to the burning of waste for fuel. PPC was mentioned in the public hearings before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs and Tourism, held during November 2007 for the National Environmental Management Waste Bill [B39 – 2007].1 The submission to the Portfolio Committee from a Ward Committee Member,2 Tshwane, dealt with the health problems caused by PPC. He said that he had interviewed local physicians and that they had all attributed the high incidence of community health problems to PPC. He stated that people were being treated for lung and sinus problems, asthma and skin problems. He also stated that the Hercules community clinic saw 55,000 patients in 2006, which is double the Pretoria average, and that most of these patients attended due to respiratory related problems. He further reported that emissions were unacceptably high and that there was uncertainty about what emissions from burning waste would consist of. He also noted that PPC had not been responsive to the concerns of the community and the community lacked trust in PPC as it did not listen to the needs of the community.
In a newsletter of non-profit organisation groundWork from 2008, the following statement was made by an individual living beside a PPC operation:
I am a resident in the immediate PPC vicinity. Since living here over the past 20 years I increasingly began suffering more and more from chest problems. I am now a chronic asthma patient and am undergoing expensive medical treatment to be able to cope on a daily basis. I have witnessed people dying and suffering from chest complaints in the area, many of whom were children – young people – or in the prime of their life. I live in the flats directly opposite PPC – the buildings have black saturation markings all over. Plants and trees look wilted and pale and are struggling to survive in the area. How much more the suffering of the people? PPC’s pollution is of such a serious nature that I believe that PPC could be challenged constitutionally for the suffering and discomfort that they cause.3
Further media and other reports found online detail NGO and community opposition to the burning of tyres for fuel by PPC and other companies.4
In early 2015, the Department of Environmental Affairs granted PPC’s application for postponement of its obligation to comply with new minimum emission standards for particulate matter under the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act. The new standards would have been applicable from 1 April 2015, but PPC’s exemption enables it to delay compliance until 2020.5
In response to a PAIA request submitted by the CER for records indicating the names of mines and industrial facilities in respect of which notices or directives under the National Water Act have been issued, the Department of Water & Sanitation responded with information which indicated that PPC was issued with a notice under the National Water Act on 30 January 2015.
- http://pmg.org.za/minutes/20071120-national-nuclear-regulator-annual-report-200607-briefing-0 (last accessed on 7 August 2015).
- Ward committee members are members of a community representing the interests of that community.
- GroundWork Newsletter, Vol 10 No 4, December 2008, at p9, available at http://www.groundwork.org.za/newsletters/December%202008.pdf
- http://www.srk.co.za/files/File/South-Africa/publicDocuments/NPC_Cimpor/App/7_Public_Participation/2_EIA_phase_PPP_material/2_media_coverage/7_315359_article_7_activists_sunday_paper_23_august_2010_cliffy_naidoo_20110202.pdf (last accessed on 7 August 2015).
- http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2015-03-09-breathing-space-for-polluters-but-what-about-public-health/#.VV23ofmqqko and https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/docs/airqualitymanagement_postponementapplications.pdf (last accessed on 7 August 2015).