The role of environmental action groups in raising public awareness of environmental hazards in Merewent.
Palan, Visvanathan Mervyn.
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This dissertation, through the case study approach, investigates the role of environmental action groups in raising public awareness of environmental hazards in Merewent. Merewent is a residential suburb that lies in the heart of the South Durban Basin adjacent to two oil refineries, a paper mill and other small industries. The sulphur -rich gases released by these refineries over the more than forty years have affected the health of the residents. Many today have respiratory ailments, with some of them developing related cancers. With the emergence of environmental action groups in the area, the awareness of the problem has increased. This has resulted in pressure being applied by the community on the refineries to adopt less hazardous methods of refining crude oil. Most of the people who make up these action groups had limited knowledge of the environmental pollution. However, through their involvement in the activities of these groups, they learnt and became active participants in these organisations. Using science literacy, popular education and social learning theory as the underlying theoretical basis, this study investigates the learning that took place when people participated in social action.