Health tribunal clears the air over South Durban ailments

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THE South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) hosted a health tribunal at Austerville civic hall on Tuesday, 24 June.

The aim of the tribunal was to break the silence over the issues faced by the community concerning their health and to help members of the community who are negatively affected by the chemical industries. The need to host such an event was prompted by the startling increase in deaths related to cancer, asthma and other respiratory related illnesses.

According to a Settlers School health study concluded in 2002, 52% of people in South Durban, mostly children suffer with asthma. The study also revealed that the chemical content of the air is 25 times more potent than the world average.

Members of the public who attended the meeting were afforded the opportunity to tell of how they had been affected by the effects of air pollution.

During the day’s proceedings, Sister Doreen Lious gave an educational talk on asthma. She stressed the importance of teaching people how to control asthma. A study of Settlers Primary School pupils in grades three to six revealed that 129 out of 248 pupils had asthma.

SDCEA communications and project officer Noluthando Mbeje said: “From this tribunal it was crystal clear that in order for our constitutional right not to be violated, we all need to act, speak out, break the wall of fear and shame.”

Mbali Mpofu

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