Sappi Ngodwana, South Africa

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">For more than 50 years the Sappi Ngodwana pulp mill has polluted the Elands River valley and surrounding areas. The air pollution is evident from the foul taste and burning eyes. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none"> Chemicals such as chloride leach into the Elands River system, with pollution concentrations increasing during the winter low flow season. There is potential for serious conflict between the mill and downstream users of the river system, who need clean water for drinking, washing, irrigation etc. There have been serious chemical spills into the river causing the deaths of thousands of fish and other aquatic organisms. <br/><br/> Vast monoculture pine and eucalyptus plantations supply the mill with raw logs. These plantations impact heavily on water resources and biodiversity, cause severe soil erosion, spread invasive alien plants, and have historically displaced local people from their land. <br/><br/> The mill has recently increased its production of pulp for kraft, but is now in the process of further increasing its capacity and simultaneously converting to cellulose production. <br/><br/> This problem is compounded by fluctuation in weather patterns. During dry cycles the impacts of the mill and its plantations become greater than what the local people and the environment can bear. <br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Sappi Ngodwana, South Africa</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/south-africa">South Africa</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Ngodwana</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Invasive species<br /> Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp<br /> Manufacturing activities</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/cellulose'>Cellulose</a><br /><a href='/commodity/pine'>Pine</a><br /><a href='/commodity/eucalyptus'>Eucalyptus</a><br /></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns">Current output capacity 500,000 tonnes Proposed increased output capacity 700,000 tonnes Mill efluent is presently sprayed onto irrigated pasture which becomes saturated and then leaches through the soil into the river. <br/><br/></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>Billions</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>1960</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/sappi-ngodwana'>Sappi Ngodwana</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/south-africa'><small>South Africa</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) , Department of Trade and Industry</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">International and Financial Institutions</td><td><a href='/institution/forest-stewardship-council'>Forest Stewardship Council <small>(FSC)</small></a><br /><a href='/institution/new-york-stock-exchange'>New York Stock Exchange <small>(NYSE)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-institution/united-states-of-america'><small>United States of America </small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>GeaSphere, Timberwatch</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>LOW (some local organising)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Indigenous groups or traditional communities<br /> Informal workers<br /> Local ejos<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Ethnically/racially discriminated groups<br /> Recreational users<br /> Local scientists/professionals</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)<br /> Creation of alternative reports/knowledge<br /> Development of alternative proposals<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Media based activism/alternative media<br /> Objections to the EIA<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Arguments for the rights of mother nature<br /> Protests at company meetings </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Fires, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Genetic contamination, Oil spills</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>To be completed - topsoil loss etc</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Deaths</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Plantation workers exposed to <br/><br/>chemical pesticides. Dangerous work in plantations when clearcutting. General environmental health affected by raised levels of water, soil and air pollution.<br/><br/>There has been recorded incidents of cattle grazing on the irrigated pastures suffering from<br/><br/>loose teeth due to excess levels of fluoride. <br/><br/></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>The presence of the mill and the plantations has discouraged other forms of investment into the area. </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>In operation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area<br /> New legislation<br /> Strengthening of participation<br /> New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study<br /> Low wages paid to contract workers. Link needs to be made between the international consumption, the mill and the immense damage caused by the plantations which feed it.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>Transformation of the industry into a decentralized, diversified <br/><br/>sustainable model based on high value indigenous tree species from continuous cover production <br/><br/>forests with many small scale value adding opportunities for skilled entrepeneurs.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>No</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>Resistance to the project started in the 1960s when local farmers questioned the impacts of the mill. The conflict escalated due to the death of fish in the Elands River caused by pollution from the mill. This triggered greater awareness. During 2003, Sappi announced expansion plans which resulted in protest action with toi toi dancing and the handing over of a memorandum opposing the expansion. Environmental groups criticised the EIA process which led to a revised record of decision. </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> National Waste Management Act<br/></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> National Air Quality Act<br/></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> National Water Act<br/></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> National Forest Act<br/></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> National Environmental Management Act<br/></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> <a class="refanch small" href="http://www.geasphere.co.za/articles/pulpfriction.htm" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> <a class="refanch small" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hFlGmTrBvs" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Video: Pulping the Future<br/></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> <a class="refanch small" href="http://www.geasphere.co.za/articles/pulpfriction.htm" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> <a class="refanch small" href="www.wrm.org.uy" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> </p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Comments</td><td>0</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Philip Owen</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>24/06/2014</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>
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