Dr. Marcos Orellana, the UN Special Rapporteur on Toxins and Human Rights, recently visited South Africa from July 31st to August 11th, 2023. The aim of the visit was to address the issue of hazardous waste and chemicals in the country. The visit was productive and received praise from the South African Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment, Ms. Barbara Creecy.
Engaging with Stakeholders
During his stay, Dr. Orellana engaged in discussions with various stakeholders, including government officials, business representatives, civil society members, and organized labor. The site visits also provided valuable insights into the challenges posed by hazardous waste and chemicals in South Africa.
Importance of International Support
Minister Creecy highlighted the importance of international support in South Africa’s transition from environmental racism to sustainable development. She expressed her anticipation for the outcome of Dr. Orellana’s report and hopes that the Special Rapporteur will continue to assist South Africa in its ongoing quest to improve environmental management and secure the realization of environmental rights for all citizens.
Challenges Faced by South Africa
One of the key factors affecting the management of environmental challenges in South Africa is the rapid rate of urbanization, industrialization, and immigration. These factors, along with fiscal constraints, have hindered the government’s ability to address environmental concerns effectively.
Minister Creecy stressed the need for technological transfer, technical assistance, and financial aid from developed countries to overcome these obstacles. This support would enable South Africa to create a safer and more sustainable environment for its people.
Dr. Orellana’s Findings and Recommendations
Dr. Orellana will present his findings and recommendations in a report to the Human Rights Council in September 2024. This report is expected to shed light on the current state of hazardous waste management in South Africa and provide guidance on how the country can move towards a more sustainable future.
Global Issue of Toxins and Human Rights
Dr. Orellana’s visit underscores the broader global issue of toxins and human rights. Many developing nations face similar struggles, making it essential for the international community to recognize and address the interconnected nature of these problems.
Collaboration for Positive Change
The successful visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Toxins and Human Rights demonstrates the potential benefits of international cooperation and shared knowledge. By working together, South Africa and the global community can overcome the challenges of hazardous waste and chemicals, paving the way for a cleaner, greener, and healthier future.