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SAHRC finds against Enviroserv (Pty) Ltd

02 June 2015

Attention: Editors and Reporters


The South African Human Rights Commission has found against Enviroserv for operating a regional medical waste incineration facility affecting the health of community members residing around Ferreira Avenue in Bloemfontein, thus violating their right to a clean environment.
The SAHRC conducted an investigation against Enviroserv following complaints that the company’s incinerator has been bellowing out large volumes of smoke during the day and night since February 2013. As a result of the incineration the air in the area is polluted affecting the health of residents in the area.

Complainant Mr Johan De Beer and other community members including his neighbour who was hospitalized due to the emissions from the incinerator and a teacher at Fauna Primary School who also had experienced problems with the air pollution caused by the incinerator which had adversely affected his performance at the school due to a blocked nose.

Mr Johan De Beer complained to the Commission that Enviroserv (Pty) Ltd also known as E.C. Incinerator Services is violating his constitutional right to a clean environment by operating a medical waste incinerator near his home at Ferreira Avenue, South of Bloemfontein.

He further alleged that since he moved into the farm two and half years ago, he has been suffering from various medical conditions which includes sinusitis, swollen glands in neck and under tongue, stuffy nose, burning sensation in throat, blood coming out of nose, burning eyes, bad bitter taste in mouth from solid present in the air which he inhales, dizziness and headaches. He indicated in the complaint that he has visited his doctor on several occasions to receive medical attention.

Findings

The South African Human Rights Commission has found that:

The E.C. Incinerator Services (Enviroserv) (Pty) Ltd failure to ensure that its medical waste incinerator reached correct temperatures at all material times and the consequent excessive black emissions which polluted air in the area violated the community’s and Mr John Waldemar De Beer constitutional right to a clean environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being.
Recommendations
•    The Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality as the licensing authority under Air Quality Act is directed to use the provisions of sections 45 or section 46 to review or vary the Atmospheric Emission Licence issued to Enviroserv (Pty) Ltd health care waste incinerator to ensure that the conditions are aligned with best practice, with specific reference to comparative international regulation within a period of 6 months.
•    Before the facility is allowed to recommence operations under the revised Atmospheric Emission Licence, it is required to provide proof that it is able to meet the requirements of the Atmospheric Emission Licence after review as recommended above.
Ends
Issued by the SA Human Rights Commission
Isaac Mangena
071 884 8273
Spokesperson

For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]



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