Medical waste incinerator violates human rights - SAHRC

2015-06-03 21:18
SAHRC (Picture: Sapa)

SAHRC (Picture: Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bloemfontein - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has found that EnviroServ’s regional medical waste incineration facility in Bloemfontein compromises community members’ right to a clean environment.

The SAHRC investigated after residents complained that the company’s incinerator has been billowing out large volumes of smoke during the day and night for the past two years. As a result, the air in the area is polluted, affecting the health of residents in the area.

Complainant Mr Johan De Beer and other community members were hospitalised due to the emissions from the incinerator.

De Beer complained to the Commission that since he moved into the area south of Bloemfontein two and half years ago, he had been suffering from various medical conditions which includes sinusitis, swollen glands in his neck and under his tongue, stuffy nose, burning sensation in his throat, blood coming out of his nose, burning eyes, bad bitter taste in his mouth from solids present in the air which he inhales, dizziness and headaches.

He needed medical attention on several occasions.

The SAHRC recommended that the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, as the licensing authority, review or verify the Atmospheric Emission Licence issued to Enviroserv health care waste incinerator within 6 months. 

Before the facility is allowed to recommence operations, it is required to provide proof that it is able to meet the requirements of the licence.

EnviroServ’s Group Operations Director, Esme Gombault, said the company had received a report from the SAHRC relating to its Bloemfontein incinerator which it was appealing.

“In the report, the SAHRC concedes that it has no evidence that EnviroServ operations impacted on the health of the complainant.

"The SAHRC refers to a report by independent experts that it was “very unlikely” that any person would develop adverse acute health effects as a consequence of emissions from the plant, and to a second emission study by Golder Associates which concluded that the potential health impacts associated with the emission from the incinerator are “of low significance - irrespective of distance from the site boundary".

“Despite disputing the findings, EnviroServ accepts the SAHRC’s recommendations that the incinerator should not be restarted until it meets the requirements of a revised Atmospheric Emission Licence to be issued by the local authority.

"EnviroServ voluntarily suspended the operations in 2013 for commercial reasons notwithstanding the facility was operating under a valid licence.”

Several attempts to reach the Mangaung Municipality for comment were unsuccessful.

Read more on:    sahrc  |  bloemfontein  |  environment

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.