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IT IS ESTIMATED THAT WORLDWIDE, 25 MILLION PEOPLE ARE POISONED BY PESTICIDES EVERY YEAR!!!
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The Air That I Breathe Foundation (Tatib) has been formed BY the people & FOR the people of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Somerset West & surrounding areas, as a platform from which the residents, parents, students, rate payers, farmers & farm workers can campaign against the harmful effects of exposure to potentially toxic spray drift from the adjacent vineyards & orchards, into bordering dwellings/residential areas.
Our hopes are that the awareness of this serious issue is one that will spread further afield, to other towns & cities nationwide so that the public can help put pressure on the relevant authorities enabling laws to be put in place to protect not only human health but also that of the seriously deteriorating environment. When last did you see a chameleon in your garden ? Have you noticed the dwindling number of small birds to be seen? And the lifeless rivers & streams? Our aim is to ensure that the air that WE breathe is kept pesticide, fungicide & herbicide free at ALL times and that this happens in a spirit of harmony & cooperation with the local farming communities. It is our duty,as custodians, to leave this earth a better place for our children & grandchildren, affording them their basic right to enjoy fresh air and clean water.
Whilst the problem of spray drift, and resulting ill health, is not a new one to Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl & Somerset West (first complaints were lodged with Stellenbosch Municipality way back in 2008), the Tatib Foundation is still very much in its infancy. In this regard it has only been a short time since the first official Tatib meeting in Stellenbosch was held. This forum was a platform for concerned residents, parents,students, rate payers, farmers & farm workers, who felt that something needed to be done to bring this problem out into the public spotlight, and under the attention of the relevant Municipal and Provincial Officials.
The response was so overwhelming that many requests to attend this meeting could not be met - as there was only enough seating for approximately 100 people - and so a large number of concerned residents, parents & students had to be turned away. However, Tuesdays meeting was only the first of many more to come, and we hope that this initiative will gain momentum and grow in numbers.
We would like to extend our special thanks, on behalf of all the residents, students, parents and various officials who attended, to the guest speakers who gave up their valuable time to address this worthy cause:
DR JOHAN MINNAAR: who flew to Cape Town from Groblersdal. Thank You!
CHARL PIENAAR: for your organic input ! Thank You !
PATRICK DOWLING (WESSA): who drove in from Kirstenhof. Thank You!
RUPERT VD MERWE: our local hero who helps organic farmers. Thank You!
JURGEN SCHIRMACHER: who helped with quality information & to mobilize so many people. Thank You !
A very special thank you, to YOU, the RESIDENTS, PARENTS & STUDENTS, who for the past 3 weeks have helped to get this initiative up and running, the result of which has been the formation of the Tatib Foundation.
Following Tuesday’s meeting, we are so very proud to inform you all, that eight volunteers have put down their names for Tatib’s Steering Committee.
The Legal Resources Centre in Cape Town(www.lrc.org.za), having been involved with the problem of spray drift poisoning following the Carte Blanche “Poisoned Fruit” national broadcast (May 2007), is assisting Tatib, and after attending the meeting of 24/11/1009 shall be drafting an urgent letter, on behalf of Tatib, addressed to Stellenbosch Municipality / Cape District Winelands Municipality (further municipalities to follow) & Provincial Admin Western Cape, calling for amendments to be made to the relevant Air Quality Management Act & Municipal-By-Laws.
Both Municipalities will be officially requested, through the LRC, to do a full "Audit" on all the adjacent vineyards & orchards (surrounding the towns) , so as to supply the Tatib Foundation & all interested parties including government, with a list of each and every pesticide / fungicide / herbicide that is used in the area. That way the residents of Stellenbosch & Franschhoek initially, and eventually Paarl & Somerset West, will be placed in an informed position to know exactly what agricultural contaminants they may have come into contact with.
A copy of the LRC ‘s letter to the Municipalities will be emailed to all who attended Tuesdays meeting and then also posted on Tatib's website as soon as this is up and running. When the list of pesticides / fungicides / herbicides is received, this will also be posted on www.tatib.org.za
In closing, we the concerned residents, parents, students and other interested parties, thank you all for attending Tuesday’s meeting, and for showing us, by your overwhelming positive response, that you view this issue as seriously as we do, and that you too feel that something must be done to address the problem.
The serious consequences of pesticide poisoning are well documented in Carte Blanche’s DDT Story available now from the links below:
Internationally there has been great recognition of the serious consequences of spray drift and major success by Georgina Downs (see BBC link below)
WE ALL TALK OF POSITIVE CHANGE,
BUT WHAT ARE WE ACTUALLY DOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE ?