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Bisasar Rd Landfill Site, South Africa


Located in the historically coloured and Indian area of Durban, the Bisasar Road landfill methane electricity project converts dangerous methane emissions from rotting rubbish into electricity. It is the South Africas largest landfill and a leading CDM pilot project. Opened in 1980 by the apartheid regime, the dump processes 3000 to 5000 tones of (hazardous) waste daily and has caused an increase in cancer rates. It was set up illegally because it fails the crucial test of validity for raising international funding and has disincentivised the closure of the toxic dump site, despite strong community pressure. Furthermore, it has not been successful at capturing the expected levels of methane.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Bisasar Rd Landfill Site, South Africa
Country:South Africa
State or province:KwaZulu Natal
Location of conflict:Durban
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Carbon offsets
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Bisasar Road Dump in Durbans Clare estate is Africas largest landfill.

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Level of Investment for the conflictive project9100000
Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:1996
Company names or state enterprises:Durban Solid Waste from South Africa
Environmental Waste Solutions from South Africa
Relevant government actors:Department of Trade and Industry, Durban Solid Waste of Ethekwini Municipality, Ethekwini Municipality
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
French Development Agency (AFD) from France
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Sajida Khan, South Durban Community
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Informal workers
Local ejos
Wastepickers, recyclers
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
-Abahlali Base Mjondolo, shack-dwellers movement in South Africa
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of alternative proposals
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow
Potential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents
Project StatusIn operation
Proposal and development of alternatives:-Extract the methane gas through a pipeline
-Retract the CDM
-Close the dump
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Although the World Bank removed its support for the project, the Bisasar Rd Landfill site is still open and generating carbon credits through biogas electricity generation.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Patrick Bond, True cost of Durbans waste strategy, The Mercury, 2 February 2010.

Khadija Sharife and Patrick Bond, False solutions to climate crisis amplify ecoFinjustices,Women in Action, 2009,2.

Patrick Bond, Privatization of the air turns lethal,Capitalism Nature Socialism,18,4,2007.

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Meta information
Contributor:Khadija Sharife
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:361
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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