Time for environmental action, not more hot air from politicians
JUNE 5 was declared World Environment Day in an attempt to galvanise governments, institutions and society in general to become more environmentally-conscious.
The article “President Ramaphosa, it cannot all be hot air” by Desmond D’Sa, co-ordinator of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (the POST, June 12 -16) refers.
D’Sa rightfully states: “… South Africa’s own highest-polluting corporations… place our country at the world’s very highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions … Our economy is carbonaddicted.”
In keeping with D’Sa’s article, reference is made to my article “Striving for a greener country” (the POST, March 13-17) wherein it was stated that Ramaphosa appeared live on national TV at a clean-up campaign in East London declaring his passion and fervour for lowering the emission of carbon and encouraging a greener economy.
Our president also fingered government at local level (municipalities), who need to play their part in growing greener cities.
The article by D’Sa talks about politicians (President Ramaphosa and hot air), and my article in your sister newspaper, The Sunday Tribune, dated March 15, 2015 – “Mayor’s clean air plan just a load of hot air” – states: “The problem with politicians is that they just do not bother – any utterances that suit their fancy without any repercussions become the breeding ground for others of their ilk.”
This article was in response to failed promises by erstwhile eThekwini mayor, James Nxumalo. D’Sa’s article concluded with the lines, “… to show ordinary people that you are serious, not a politician who arrives at the scene of suffering for cheap publicity, but who does nothing thereafter to help us…”.
Two NGOs have filed applications in the Pretoria High Court on June 7, 2019 in an attempt to sue the president and the minister of environmental affairs.
Timothy Lloyd, representing the Centre for Environmental Rights, appeared on eNCA news on June 10, 2019 and stated that the president had a duty to protect the environment (notably in the Secunda, Ermelo area) where coal-fired power stations are affecting the poorest of the poor. Research conducted by the Centre published a report which claimed that air pollution caused between 300 and 650 early deaths in 2016 in that area alone. Mr Lloyd further claimed there were no signs of improvement in the air quality despite the government’s Air Quality Management Plan.
Political leaders and us laymen must employ some introspection.
It is my sincere hope (not a pipe dream) that the court action will bring political leaders to their environmental senses. GONA GOVENDER La Mercy