Environmental Justice

Land & Resources

The overall objective of the LRC’s environmental work is to protect the environmental rights enshrined in the South African Constitution.

The LRC is the only public interest environmental law practice in South Africa that provides legal services to those who cannot afford to pay for support – addressing the impact of development activities that are likely to affect the health, livelihood, and well-being of those marginalized and poor people and communities.

The LRC examines decision-making related to new industrial activities, and it addresses harm caused to the environment and health by past poorly regulated activities. The LRC also provides legal representation and technical support for environmental organizations.

LRC environmental victories include:

  • Reduction of sulphur dioxide emissions in all four oil refineries in South Africa;
  • Rehabilitation of abandoned mine sites affecting the health and well-being of nearby communities;
  • Closure of illegal mining operations;
  • Negotiation of environmental management plans with large industrial developments;
  • Preventing the authorization for medical waste incinerators without sufficient air pollution control devices;
  • Negotiating a reduction in lead and sulphur levels in fuel; and
  • Overturning authorization granted for the development of a nuclear power plant where interested and affected parties were not given opportunity to be heard on the final Environmental Impact Assessment.

Please watch the video concerning an LRC client community in the town of Carolina, whose water supply had been polluted from run-off from nearby coal mines.