Safety, Health and Environmental Activism On The Increase

South Africa. Health, Safety and Environmental issues are now covered in the media on a regular basis. Take for example the case of the tank farm and manganese ore dumps on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront. You can even participate by signing the petition to the Minister of Public Enterprises. The petition form is available online.

Organised business and the tourism industry are to put their full weight behind a campaign, based on scientific studies of health and environmental hazards, to relocate the ore dump and fuel tank farm on Port Elizabeth‘s beachfront.

Former Port Elizabeth Regional Chamber of Commerce president David Coffey said Transnet and the oil companies which operate the tank farm had to be "hammered" until both facilities were moved, possibly to the Coega industrial development zone.

Transnet owns and operates the manganese ore dumps and owns the land on which the tank farm stands, although it is operated by the oil companies.

Mayor Nondumiso Maphazi said at a media briefing that the removal of the dump and the adjacent tank farm were top priorities in terms of developing the beachfront.

Recent developments had increased the importance of the relocation, she said. These included the latest seepage of oil into the harbour, growing concerns about the environmental impact of both the tank farm and the ore dump, and the health hazards posed to residents of the metro, particularly by ore dust.

"There has been some interaction with government and the other parties concerned, but now we have to apply more pressure until the facilities are removed and the area rehabilitated," said Maphazi.

"This would include providing information and assisting with specially commissioned independent reports on the hazardous nature of both facilities," said Maphazi.

She also referred to a council decision last week when municipal manager Graham Richards was instructed "to put pressure on Transnet to address environmental and safety issues associated with the current outdated manganese handling and fuel storage facilities".

Richards said last week that there were also "constitutional responsibilities" with regard to health and safety around the beachfront facilities.

Source: The Herald Online
By: Bob Kernohan

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Edmond Furter

Editor at Sheqafrica.com
Edmond Furter is the editor of Sheqafrica.com. He is a freelance technical journalist, and has won six journalism awards. He specialises in industrial, business, and cultural content in web, journal, and book formats.