Air pollution from coal-fired power stations kills more than 2200 South Africans every year and causes thousands of cases of bronchitis and asthma in adults and children each year, costing the country more than R30-billion a year, from the healthcare system and lost working days. These are some of the findings from a presentation by UK-based air quality and health expert Dr. Mike Holland who visited South Africa recently.
Holland presented his report to the Department of Environmental Affairs on 6 September 2017, and to members of the Environmental Affairs and Health Portfolio Committees on 8 September 2017.
In 2016, environmental justice organisation groundWork commissioned Holland to assess the health impacts and associated economic costs of current emissions of air pollutants from coal-fired power stations in South Africa. His findings are contained in a report entitled Health impacts of coal fired power plants in South Africa. In essence, the report estimates that the following impacts are attributable to air pollution from the burning of coal in South Africa:
These numbers exclude the significant impacts from air pollution from coal dust, transport of coal, and water contamination. The report estimates the health impacts of individual Eskom power stations based on their emissions. His report finds that the most lethal Eskom power stations are Medupi (364 deaths a year), Matimba (262 deathsa year), Kendal (210 deaths a year), Lethabo (204 deaths a year), and Matla and Tutuka (192 deaths a year each).
Holland told decision-makers that these impacts are material, and urged that they are taken into account in future energy policy in South Africa. Earlier this year, CER, groundWork and Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (which make up of the Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle campaign), made submissions on the draft base case for the new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), arguing that health costs should have been considered in the scenario planning by the Department of Energy. The Life After Coal Campaign, together with Greenpeace Africa, also criticised the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for not adequately considering these and other costs in their alternative IRP published in March 2017.
Contact Annette Gibbs, Centre for Environmental Rights, Tel 021 447-1647, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: EE plublishers