photo credit: Ainhoa Goma/Oxfam

In 2009 you heard the trite references to Shakespeare about something being ‘rotten in the state of Denmark’ during the COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Well it wasn’t just the pickled herring.

Nothing stinks worse than corruption, greed and short sightedness in the face of very real human and environmental threats, but toxic waste comes pretty close.

Industrial solvents, benzene, dioxins, bleach and sulphides are just a fragrant after scent wafting through the air and just close enough that they might tickle the nose hairs of those ‘negotiating a binding climate deal’ in Durban, South Africa at this years COP17 Climate Change Conference.

From the Guardian:

With two crude oil refineries, South Africa‘s two biggest paper mills, its biggest container port, a dozen chemical companies, several major landfill sites and a huge number of factories together producing 80% of South Africa‘s oil products and much of its industrial emissions, south Durban locals have learned to identify the coughs, nausea, drowsiness, vomiting and headaches they suffer by their sources.

But never mind the stench of industrialism, there are lucrative deals to be made, targets to be missed and real issues to be ignored.

And those who are most at risk from no action on climate change, and would benefit from real action, are taking to the streets of Durban. 12,000 people, including unions and social movements, recently marched for climate justice in the South African city.

Gideon, a National Union of Mineworkers member who works at a drilling and construction company in Durban, explained that many jobs could be created through the process of fighting climate change by building proper public transport infrastructure and investing in renewable energy. He said 20 percent of South Africans have no access to electricity, and they should be provided with renewable energy.

–Socialist Worker

South Africa is being besieged by private fossil fuel, mineral and chemical companies with unfair, disastrous human and environmental results.

Read more about it here and here.