Johannesburg, 24 May 2019 — The Department of Environmental Affairs has announced that twenty protected marine areas have been established in South Africa. They have also announced that the unlawfully weakened Sulphur Dioxide emission limits have been withdrawn and opened for public comment following litigation by groundWork and the Centre for Environmental Rights. In response, Greenpeace Africa has said:
“We depend on the oceans for a healthy planet, but around the world our oceans are in crisis. By deliberately protecting twenty designated marine areas, the Department of Environmental Affairs is displaying commendable leadership that can guide the way for other African countries to protect our oceans. Greenpeace Africa celebrates this move by the Department while negotiations with the UN around establishing a Global Treaty to create a network of ocean sanctuaries are ongoing.
“Greenpeace Africa would, however, really like to see the Department being as progressive and proactive on climate change, water and air pollution. The withdrawal of the unlawfully weakened SO2 limits is undoubtedly a wise move which is also to be celebrated. However, civil society organisations should not have had to take the Department to court in order for that to have happened. The Department needs to show South Africans that it is progressive enough to take bold action at all levels, instead of defending polluters and weakening legislation to accommodate them, when they are pushing us closer to a full-blown climate crisis”
Chris Vlavianos, Communications Officer – Greenpeace Africa, [email protected], 079 883 7036