Shell clean up in Durban
Shell has finally agreed to replace some leaking pipelines at the SAPREF refinery in Durban, South Africa.
Their decision followed a meeting between Shell’s chief executive, Jeroen van de Veer, and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA).
SDCEA worked with Friends of the Earth and a network of NGOs to call for Shell to replace its leaking fuel pipelines in South Durban.
SDCEA had been monitoring pipeline leaks since 1995.
One major incident in 2001 involved more than 1 million litres of petrol leaking from the rusting pipelines contaminating land under people’s homes.
The Shell & BP Refinery has operated 7 pipelines that deliver the Refinery’s finished products to its storage facilities in Durban Harbour for over 40 years.
A challenge, a promise and a lesson finally learned
Friends of the Earth has supported communities affected by Shell's operations over the last few years.
Reports published by Friends of the Earth and a coalition of community organisations have told the true story of what life is like living next door to Shell.
Members of SDCEA first told their story in the alternative Shell report - Failing the Challenge - back in 2003.
Desmond D’Sa travelled to London to the company’s annual general meeting – and has returned each year to remind Shell of the promises it has not kept.
Desmond D'Sa at Shell's London AGM in 2004
Local Shell Managers in South Africa ignored calls for the pipes to be replaced - even though evidence showed that the pipelines had 50% rust.
In 2005, Shell finally seemed to listen, and Mr van de Veer travelled to Durban in December where he met with members of the community and heard their concerns.
In 2006, Shell announced it is replacing some of the pipelines at the refinery, with work expected to be complete by 2008.
Finally, the vroth pipelines are being replaced. We see this as a south Durban community victory.
Desmond D'Sa - SDCEA Chairperson
Shell is finally accountable to the South Durban community, and this victory shows that corporations can be held accountable throughout the global South when international campaigns are coupled with local community pressure.
Bobby Peek, groundWork (Friends of the Earth South Africa)
Shell replacing these pipelines is just the beginning.
SDCEA's fight for environmental justice and the community's right to live a healthy life continues.
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Other success stories >
Behind the Shine - the other Shell Report
(PDF† - 840 KB) June 2004
Highlights Shell's poor performance in the area of corporate social responsibility using accounts from people who live next door to Shell around the world.
Failing the Challenge - the other Shell Report
(PDF† - 300 KB) April 2003
Using first hand accounts from communities affected by Shell, this report shows that Shell still has a long way to go to meet its public commitment to a green future.