Apartheid And The Environment Essay Research Paper

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Apartheid And The Environment Essay, Research Paper Apartheid and the Environment South Africa is a prime example of the stark and unsettling conditions that exist throughout the world among race, gender, poverty, and the environment. Among the many inequalities which exist is an ailing environment which provides meager employment and playgrounds for the black population of South Africa. The environmental and social crisis originates in apartheid through the combination of poor land, forced overcrowding, and poverty (Ottoway 219). As the years go by, in addition to the already well known social crisis, more and more dumping sites will be uncovered and environmental disasters that have been concealed under apartheid will come to light. The new government will have to implement

responsible legislation and regulations to protect the environment and control corporate behavior in the most industrialized country on the continent. For most of the last half-century, the black majority of South Africa has had no means to fully express itself in the mainstream media of their nation (”Media Restrictions in South Africa” 67). The reason for this stems from the oppressive system under which South African blacks were forced to live under. The name for the system was apartheid, and it involved strict racial segregation and an ideology of white supremacy. From the birth of legal apartheid in 1948 up until its turbulent end this past year, white South Africans were extremely concerned about both preserving this system of rigid racial separation and gaining

acceptance for it. Many acts were passed by the government to try and keep the media from reporting the stark conditions existing in South Africa. The Sabotage Act of 1962 prevents the press from printing any material which could incite civil disobedience or violence (Laurence 78). The law is so vague that it can be stretched to cover almost any area the government desires. Much like the Sabotage Act, the Prisons Act of 1959 and 1965 also severely limits the power of the press to report on activities; A newspaper reporter somehow managed to obtain photos from inside Johannesburg’s Central Prison of black inmates forced to dance around in the nude during a contraband search. In response, the 1959 act prohibited the press from publishing any pictures of prison conditions or

reporting any “lies” about the treatment of inmates (Novecki 37). The Police Amendment Act of 1979 made it an offense to publish “any untrue matter” about the police or their activities (Schneider 53). As with the Prisons Act, the truth is what the government says it is and not what it really is. Comments like Bishop Desmond Tutu’s, “What the eye doesn’t see, the mind doesn’t know and the heart doesn’t grieve over” (Woods 236) are all too common in this part of the world and outlooks like this are helping to destroy the South African country – geographically, economically and socially. South Africa is sitting on a toxic time bomb. The new government has inherited a poisoned country of rivers, valleys, gorges, and mine dumps. All the environmental activism

(in which the ozone and rainforests dominate) should also be concentrated here in South Africa. We should certainly not allow a program of development and growth which contaminates those who have most suffered from the inhumane apartheid system and could start to poison the rest of the world. (Pollak 232) As one of the world’s biggest mineral suppliers on the planet, little attention has been paid to the fact that for every ton of metal that leaves a mine mill, about one hundred tons of trash is left in a heap topside, where it can be blown away by the winds, run off into rivers, or absorbed into the ground water (Hachten 356). South African gold mines also extract large quantities of uranium as a secondary product. To add to the hazardous situation, black communities living