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Govt given a week to speak about acid mine worries

26 January 2011 at 11:49 am

Eye Witness News, 26 January 2011

Government was on Tuesday given a week to demonstrate to environmentalists what it is doing about acid mine drainage or face legal action.

A coalition of attorneys and environmentalists wrote to the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Acid Mine Drainage demanding greater transparency and evidence of concrete action.

It said in the five months since the IMC formed, nothing has been done to stem the flow of millions of litres of acidic water on the West Rand.

The Centre of Environmental Rights Attorney Dina Townsend said government is not fulfilling its obligation to secure a healthy environment.

“We are arguing that where the state has failed to take reasonable measures it is in violation of its constitutional obligation,” said Townsend.

Earthlife’s Judith Taylor said the acid water spilling from disused mine shafts is destroying rivers, polluting ground water and affecting crops.

The Water Affairs Department is looking into the matter.

(A copy of the NGO letter to the IMC and media statement dated 25 January 2011 can be downloaded here.)