South Durban starts from the tip of the Durban Harbour and expands as far as Umkomaas in the south. There are two major oil refineries here – Engen and SAPREF. These industries plus Mondi and Sappi (paper mills) are the largest polluters in south Durban. However, there are many other smaller industries (at least three hundred) here, and there is no comprehensive list of each industry and what it contributes to the toxic soup in the air
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) is an environmental justice organisation based in south Durban. It is made up of 16 affiliate organisations, and it has been active since its formation in 1996. It is considered successful for many reasons, one of which is that it is a vocal and vigilant grouping in terms of lobbying, reporting and researching industrial incidents and accidents in this area. It contributes to the struggle against Environmental Racism for Environmental Justice and Environmental Health.
One of the first successes of SDCEA was its formation as an Environmental NGO. Participants cut across all race, creed or colour lines in South Durban on common issues. Creative thinking individuals and organizations formed this organisation due to the realisation that there would be strength in diverse numbers. Quite soon after its inception, members realised that the strength of the organisation would be the quality of the information gathered on the various industries and on the many accident and incidents that occur in south Durban. The media also turned out to be a crucial ally – and SDCEA has increased its use and effectiveness of this over the years. Another strength is its ability to mobilise the local people around environmental justice issues which in the past seemed separate because of a lack of knowledge or information.
Advocacy and lobbying is one of the many tools used in south Durban, and the SDCEA has used this extensively to fight for better air quality in the locale, and this has led to many successes.