HIV/AIDS, disease and climate change in Durban townships

Thu, 2011-12-08 13:51
Submitted by SandileSekeleni

Climate change has a particularly devastating impact on black populations in the townships around South African cities. Townships are the result of large populations of unemployed people who migrated from rural to overcrowded urban areas. Once they reached the city, finding a job became difficult and they ended up not having a place where to stay. This lead people to build shacks on any available green blankets of mother earth. By doing so, shacks have also caused a lot of environmental damage, such as floods caused by heavy rains.

After the heavy rains people lost their houses and were left with deep pools of water carved out of the land. These conditions lead to the spread of diseases, such as TB and cholera, which have caused a lot of deaths in black townships. Moreover, people have built their shacks on refuse dump areas. In townships, many people from different parts of South Africa meet and fall in love; they create their lives in these shacks, and they might also end up with unexpected pregnancies. Others might turn to prostitution, which makes them vulnerable to HIV /Aids.

People with diseases are highly affected by climate change, and they complain especially when it is cold. Climate change affects their body's capacity to adapt, it is a systematic change.
While poor people in townships increasingly suffer from diseases also because of climate change, at the COP17 governments' officials are using climate change as a new opportunity to create new profits. They advertize the green economy (i.e. solar energy) as a new resource, but in reality the needs of those unemployed and affected by diseases in townships will not benefit from this green economy.

In the township of Umlazi; South of the city of Durban, the community is largely black African AmaZulu. The biggest challenge for the people living in this area are social and environmental degradation. Though the township has become deffrentiated with a pocket full of households relatively comfortable (with running water, water-borne swerage, satalite TV and motor vihecle. a growing marjority of people are living in socio- ecomic and environmental crisis.

Climate change does not help the already difficult lives of the economicallly excluded. These negotiations have not focussed on actual matters that worry ordinary people; instead they have been an expenssive game of playboy savvy international technocrats obssessing about protocol and ducking and diving from commiting the human civilisation to do right by planet earth before it is too late.