Findings are shocking - environmental body

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Reuters

PROTEST: Members of the Trans African Caravan of Hope, a campaign on climate justice, take part in a protest outside the COP17 venue in Durban last year.

Johannesburg - South Africa's natural environment has, over the past 20 years, deteriorated nearly the fastest of most countries in the world, Beeld newspaper reported on Monday.

This was the finding of a group of scientists at the universities of Yale and Columbia, in the United States, who measured the state of the environment in 132 countries, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

South Africa was in 128th place, with Iraq last on the list.

Using 22 indicators, researchers found the Swiss had managed and conserved their natural environment the best.

Swiss air and water quality, biodiversity and the management and conservation of ecosystems were found to be the best in the world. According to the report, it was clear South Africa's air and water quality, biodiversity, the functioning of its ecosystems, and its agricultural and fishery systems, had seriously deteriorated.

The researchers also measured and compared the current state of human health with that in 1992.

The Wildlife and Environment Society of SA said the findings were shocking. Director Garth Barnes said it was clear that environmental laws in South Africa were not being applied, even though the country had some of the best environmental legislation in the world.

The full report is available online at www.epi.yale.edu. - Sapa

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Anonymous, wrote

IOL Comments
11:50am on 14 February 2012
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Well when youd rather throw parties, buy cars and mansions and send the money to off shore accounts are you suprised there is no money left to manage things that matter?

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Bobster, wrote

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04:26pm on 13 February 2012
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The National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), National Water Act and other legislation with their accompanying regulations provides a basket of tools that are available to maintain and improve our natural environment. The implementation of these laws is the problem. We can probably attribute this not only to the dire shortage of skilled and sincere government officials tasked to carry out this duty but also the tendency of parastatels, industry and commerce to downplay and give lip service when it comes to their contribution to the pollution and degradation of this part of the planet. The economic benefits far outride the social and environmental consequences of their actions and they purposefully distort the facts to their advantage. This has been going on for many years but with the rapid increase in the population and improved technology the degradation of our country’s environment is becoming more and more apparent to all. A few simple examples are the contaminated water from mining in Gauteng, the management of our national parks and especially the debris created by industrial activity that scar our countryside, pollute our atmosphere and contaminate our scarce water reserves. It is high time that firmer action is taken and we start living up to the standards that will improve our quality of life not only for this generation but for our descendants.

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Meme-Man, wrote

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04:08pm on 13 February 2012
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Aquatic [email protected].. and, of course, the dreadful attitude that "god gave mankind dominion over the earth and all its creatures" That absurd abracadabra creation myth reduces the 13,6 billion years of the cosmos and 4 billion years of life's development to a moment of magic that can be recreated at a whim if we screw things up totally. Fact is, no father-figure is going to pick up the pieces when we bring this fabulous experiment called 'life' to the brink of obliteration.

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Aquatic Ape, wrote

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03:22pm on 13 February 2012
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Meme-Man 'terrifying' is an understatement! It is a disgrace. From flipping stompies out of car windows to the massacre of our rhino the attitude of South Africans towards the environment that supports us is one of total selfishness and a couldn't-care-less state of mind. This terrible situation can only be corrected by education and a willingness to enforce the law.

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Meme-Man, wrote

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01:11pm on 13 February 2012
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Terrifying.

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