DA welcomes upcoming forum on toxic air pollution in South Durban Basin
Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance on Friday welcomed the department of environmental affairs, forestry and fisheries’ (DEFF) decision to convene a forum to address the toxic air pollution that has long plagued communities living in the South Durban Basin in KwaZulu-Natal province.
Previous calls by DA councillors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and residents to engage the eThekwini municipality led by the African National Congress on complaints of severe air pollution and environmental degradation in the area had been met with inaction, member of parliament Hannah Shameema Winkler said in a statement.
Earlier this year Winkler and several other DA officials teamed up with a local NGO on an initiative to put pressure on the municipality and national government to address the pollution.
An online petition called for quality data from air quality monitoring stations to be made freely available to the public, and for the development of an online feedback platform.
The petition also demanded that all air monitoring stations be regularly maintained, new air quality monitors be introduced in problem areas and said heftier fines should be imposed on polluters and their names made public.
On Friday Winkler said the stakeholder forum to be convened by the DEFF was only the first step toward resolving air pollution and environmental degradation in the South Durban Basin.
"We will continue to provide oversight by participating in the forum to ensure transparency and fairness and to drive for meaningful outcomes," she said.
"We do recognise the urgency needed to address the host of health issues faced by South Durban Basin residents and so the stakeholder forum cannot just be a talk-shop. We will continue to fight for the well-being of the South Durban Basin residents and the creation of clean, green spaces."
The DA plans to embark on a project with NGOs and residents to "greenify" the over-industrialised area through identifying places for green projects and the regular clearing of streams, among other measures.
African News Agency