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At the end of March a fire at the facilities of Transnet company in the southern area of Durban, South Africa, threatened the population of the area, located in one of the most polluting petrochemical poles of the world and where there have been 60 serious fires since the year 2000, according to figures by the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance.
In this case, the fire erupted in the early morning of March 24th and the flames could only be controlled four days later. There were highly dangerous chemical products at the facilities. The local inhabitants had to bear with the smoke, which could be seen over 30 km North from the place of the fire, as if it was trying to show the rest of Durban what the inhabitants of the South often suffer. Several local media refer to this as one of the largest fires in South African history.
Real World Radio had been present at the end of 2011 in South Durban to participate in a “toxic tour” to know more about the situation in the area. See article and video here: http://www.radiomundoreal.fm/An-Unforgettable-Tour?lang=en
Back then we reported: “In an area that could be paradise, with hills and magnificent beaches and a great natural landscape, the oil industry is leaving its footprint and it is disturbing the life of local communities. Also factories from other sectors like the paper industry end up creating a polluting cocktail”.
The fire that took place in March put the reality of South Durban on the spotlight once again, where giant oil transnational corporations, such as Anglo Dutch Shell and British BP (together part of the SAPFREF consortium) and others, such as Engen from Malaysia, to name a few, have wreaked havoc.
Real World Radio was present once again in South Durban by the end of March, at the headquarters of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, a reference for the popular environmental struggle of South Africa and the defense for health. There we interviewed the Project Officer on Development, Infrastructure and Climate Change of the organization, Shanice Gomes, about the new fire and the structural reality in the area. The interview was carried out only a few days after the flames went out. Then we travelled through South Durban again with a large delegation of members of Young Friends of the Earth Africa and Young Friends of the Earth Europe, who coordinated some joint work during these days in Durban.
Amigos de la Tierra Internacional (ATI) ya tiene una delegación en Ginebra, Suiza, para dar muestras a una nueva sesión regular del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas (ONU), que va del 6 al 23 de junio, del respaldo popular a las negociaciones del tratado vinculante sobre transnacionales y derechos humanos, que se negocia en ese marco multilateral.
Esta edición de nuestro programa semanal abre con la flamante coordinadora general del COPINH, Berta Zúñiga Cáceres, con quien profundizamos en las luchas de ese movimiento indígena, el caso legal por el asesinato de su madre, Berta, y las principales preocupaciones.
La presión en el marco de Naciones Unidas (ONU) a favor de los principios rectores sobre empresas y derechos humanos es muy grande, reconoció la presidenta de Amigos de la Tierra Internacional (ATI), Karin Nansen. Pero esos principios no funcionan en los hechos y nunca lo harán, aseguró, por su carácter voluntario, que no obliga a las corporaciones a respetarlos.
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