Submission to the National Portfolio Committee on Environment and Tourism on the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Bill by the Boipatong Environmental Working Group
My name is Matshediso Tsotetsi Dlamini. I am here on behalf of Boipatong Environmental Working Group (BEWG). Our area is situated at Vanderbijipark, in the township namely Tshirela, a neighbor to the industry that is not neighbor friendly- ISCOR. Other polluters are Metal Box, Gape Gate, Wire Industry and Boidwins and Samancor.
Boipatong has a population of 138 000 people. Most of our people are elderly and children. There are high prevalence's of TB and asthma within the community. We believe that people who are infected with HIV aids do not live long due to the high respiratory diseases in our area. It is our concern that the TB cases that we have are due to the air pollution from industry. Peoples resistance to fight the virus are reduced because they breath polluted air. We usually witness pollution from ISCOR in the mornings. There will be a cloud that hags around our area and a black dust on our path ways and pavements. The whole day people will complain about itching eyes and sinus problems.
It is important to acknowledge the effort and the stand taken by Government on pollution issues but with same breath we are aware that the bill still lacks in some instance. My submission is structured in to two parts namely
1. An overall comment on the strategic purposes
2. The intention of the bill and its effectiveness
On strategic purpose - will the bill address the problem associated with pollution as defined by the civil society
1. Poor quality of life
2. Poor health
3. Negative impact upon job creation and
4. Weakening development potential of pollution limits opportunities for the development of new industries; hence it limits Government ability to achieve job growth to achieve pushing back the frontiers of poverty.
The stand should be taken in order to make sure that the bill enforces ambient air standard nationally. Emission standard should be set to ensure uniformity and non competitive environmental across provinces. Our request is that the minister should develop standard at national level.
1. Local Government will be unable to hold industry accountable
2. Some provinces might adhere to standard setting while others might not.
On health the bill should address health issues. We all know that the burden of health impacts falls mostly the poor; the bill fails to address fears in the area by not coming up with
National air pollution standard to protect health Residence compensation due to pollution sickness
We believe that partnership of government, communities and industries can solve the problems that we encounter due to pollution. We believe that government's role is to make laws that protect people's health and well - being. Industry needs to understand that people's health comes before profits. We as communities will help government monitor industrial activity and ensure that the good policies laid down are being properly implemented and enforced.