Written by Trenton DuVal, Development & Communications Manager, International Development Exchange (IDEX)
In the port city of Durban, South Africa, petrochemical conglomerates are pushing a USD $25 million Dig-Out Port expansion project that will wreak untold havoc on the surrounding communities, ecology, economy and safety. South Durban is a community composed of people who were forcibly displaced during Apartheid. Thanks to racist land-use policies, large oil refineries, paper mills, chemical storage facilities and other polluting heavy industries have been set up directly in this neighborhood.
Pollution and toxic chemical emissions have compromised the health of thousands of South Durban residents for decades. The majority of children from one primary school in the area suffer from either asthma or leukemia, due to nearby toxic industries. These problems will only be exacerbated by the massive increase in polluting industries ushered in by this expansion which aims to double the city’s oil refining capacity and increase the traffic of shipping containers from 2.5 million per year to 20 million by 2040.
Here are just some of the other anticipated impacts that the expansion will have:
This project will threaten the homes, health and livelihood of thousands. IDEX partner SDCEA and other environmental groups are working hard to stop the large petro-chemical and shipping corporations from moving forward with the expansion without concern for the displacement, job loss and ecological damage it will cause.
Desmond D’Sa, the Coordinator of the SDCEA, has recently won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for shutting down the toxic Bulbul dump site in South Durban. He has now turned his sights on blocking the encroaching threat of the Port Expansion. Learn more about Desmond’s award-winning work and newest campaign here.
Photo Credit: IDEX
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