The process of learning among working class residents in the Merebank/Wentworth area during their struggle against the effects of pollution.
This is a case study of people living in the Merebank/Wentworth area which is highly polluted. This area is sandwiched between the engine refinery SAPREF, Mondi paper mill, the Durban airport and other small industries. As such it is exposed to a mixture of gases in the atmosphere which is detrimental to the health of the residents. The residents have discovered that they cannot rely on government and authorities to bring relief to the situation and have thus made it a point to acquire 'really useful knowledge' in making industries accept accountability and "clean up their act." The study has confirmed that community organisations played a significant role in raising awareness of the pollution issue and mobilising people in social action which has resulted in the industries being pressurised to improve technology in refining crude oil. The study aimed to explore the kinds of learning that took place when the residents collectively participated in social action. Social interaction is a salient feature of learning. The case study is 'heuristic' in nature in that the community gives new meaning to their experience. A situated learning approach based on social learning theory is proposed as a theoretical framework for the study. Data for the inquiry into the participants group learning and social action consisted of taped interviews, participant observation and analysis of documents.