Almal het ‘n reg om te lewe – ons in Suid-Afrika ook. Twee gevaarlike risiko’s wat ons tans daagliks moet trotseer is (1) “besoedeling” wat hand aan hand loop met mineraal ontginning wat besoedeling veroorsaak. Die regering beheer alle “permitte” en hulle reik ook wetgewings uit, saam met provinsiale en munisipale bywette vir regulering. Die ander risiko is (2) kriminele aktiwiteite en terroriste wat tans heelwat beskerming in Suid-Afrika geniet. Die reg vir die boer om te mag voedsel produseer en te leef, word deur albei risiko’s belemmer en word van almal ontneem. Dit het ‘n verdere effek op elkeen van ons se bestaansreg. Die reg tot lewe en beskerming in die kommunistiese grondwet vervat om te mag lewe word nie in die artikel geplaas nie.
SECTION 24 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, 1996
Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.
Lugbesoedeling eindig nie net by die lug nie. Uitlate wat in die lug vrygelaat word, moet een of ander tyd afkom wat deur mense en diere ingeasem word. Dit veroorsaak chroniese siektestoestande en skep ‘n baie groot en gevaarlike besoedelingsvlak vir die inwoners in die gebiede. Op liggaam sowel as omgewing. Die Witbank foto van “Greenpeace” wys die plek aan in Mpumalanga as die wêreld se grootste lugbesoedeling op die stadium. Nie net word Witbank se lugruim besoedel nie, maar ook groot stede soos Johannesburg en Pretoria word ook geraak. Hang van windtoestande af. Witbank is nog altyd beskou as ‘n hoë en gevaarlike risiko vir mens en dier. Eskom word ook in die betrokke dokumentasie vermeld as die sondebokke. En ons weet almal teen hierdie tyd hoe word Eskom se finansies bedryf en ook die “bestuur” wat heelwat verwissel. Die kaart toon ook aan waar Eskom bedryf word.
Hoe lank gaan die besoedeling nie al aan in Suid-Afrika wat soveel wetgewing het, maar hoeveel word regtig toegepas. Dit, terwyl owerhede hul gesiggies wegdraai wanneer daar oor chroniese siektes wat verwant is aan besoedeling (water en lug), gesels word. Wat van ons water wat in die proses besoedel word, juis afkomstig van hierdie groot sondebokke? Myne dra daartoe by en die regering reik alle mynpermitte (ook steenkool) uit. Steenkool is beslis nie skoon nie en was nog nooit skoon nie. Om te smag na asem en asemnood te ervaar is ook nie ‘n mooi gesig om te aanskou en so afskeid te neem van ‘n geliefde nie.
Die feit dat daar oor die 8000 ongerehabiliteerde myne bestaan word nie eers vermeld nie en wat steeds hul kringloop van besoedeling voortsit in omgewing en rondom lewens wat die risiko’s verder verhoog.
Siektestoestande en sterftes word net in Suid-Afrika vermeld en nie in die res van Afrika waar daar hard en verseker gemyn word, onder nog slegter omstandighede.
17 September 2017
Air pollution from coal-fired power stations kills more than 2,200 South Africans every year, and causes thousands of cases of bronchitis and asthma in adults and children annually. This costs the country more than R30 billion annually, through hospital admissions and lost working days.
These are some of the shocking findings to emerge from a presentation by UK-based air quality and health expert Dr Mike Holland who visited South Africa last week.
Dr Holland presented his report to Department of Environmental Affairs on 6 September, and to members of the Environmental Affairs and Health Portfolio Committees on Friday, 8 September 2017.
In 2016, environmental justice organisation ground Work commissioned Dr 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:
- 2 239 deaths per year: 157 from lung cancer; 1 110 from ischaemic heart disease; 73 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;719 from strokes; and 180 from lower respiratory infection
- 2 781 cases of chronic bronchitis per year in adults
- 9 533 cases of bronchitis per year in children aged 6 to 12
- 2 379 hospital admissions per year
- 3 972 902 days of restricted activity per year
- 94 680 days of asthma symptoms per year in children aged 5 to 19
- 996 628 lost working days per year
- The total costs associated with these impacts exceed USD2 billion per year
These numbers exclude the significant impacts from air pollution from mining (such as coal dust), transport of coal, and contamination of water.
Dr Holland’s report also 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 (also with 453 cases of chronic bronchitis, 1552 cases of bronchitis in children ages 6-19, 15 412 asthma symptom days in children, all at a cost of more than $386 million per year)
- Matimba: 262 deaths per year
- Kendal: 210 deaths per year
- Lethabo: 204 deaths per year
- Matla and Tutuka: 192 deaths per year each
Dr Holland is a freelance consultant based in the United Kingdom
More information about Eskom
About 83% of the utility’s 46,249MW capacity is currently generated by coal-fired power stations. Graphic sourced from Eskom
Eskom owns and operates more than 13 coal-fired power stations which have different coal quality specifications. In addition, Eskom is a responsible corporate citizen which procures its goods and services, including coal, from sources that meet all legislative and regulatory requirements.
Government has introduced a target for the introduction of renewable energy which equates a cumulative 10 000 GWh of energy. The target is based on achieving a large portion of the 10 000 GWh from solar water heating as it is the most cost effective and easiest renewable option to implement.
According to WITS University Professor of Geoscience, Terence McCarthy, “Water security is a very real issue in South Africa. Through various mining activities we are currently poisoning our main drinking water supply, namely the Upper-Vaal River catchment. If this continues we are going to have to rely on Lesotho Highlands water to dilute our own water supply and remedy the high toxicity levels to a point where it is once again fit for human consumption. If we continue on this trajectory we will render
our fresh water completely undrinkable within the next few decades.”
There are alternatives …
The True Costs of Coal are colossal, with repercussions already being felt by the people of this country. The choices that South Africa makes now will determine the country’s
energy future. They will affect standards of living, levels of job creation, energy access and security, the environment, and South Africa’s economic future. Eskom consistently
refers to so-called ‘clean coal’, but the assessments made by BE at UP clearly show that ‘clean coal’ simply does not exist. Instead, the True Cost of Coal is destruction at every
step, and investing in coal and Kusile could be costing the country up to R60.6 billion a year
“It has been reported before that the eMalahleni area has the world’s dirtiest air, and now this analysis of high tech satellite data has revealed that the Mpumalanga province is the global number one hotspot for NO2 emissions. This confirms that South Africa has the most polluting cluster of coal-fired power stations in the world which is both disturbing and very scary” said Melita Steele, senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager for Greenpeace Africa.
Mpumalanga is home to a cluster of twelve coal fired power plants with a total capacity of over 32 gigawatts owned and operated by Eskom.
“Because South Africa’s coal-belts are hidden from view for the majority of South Africans, it can be easy to pretend that they don’t actually exist. The reality is that coal extraction and burning has devastating impacts on the people living in the area. This satellite data now confirms that there is nowhere to hide: Eskom’s coal addiction in Mpumalanga means that millions of people living in Johannesburg and Pretoria are also impacted by the pollution from coal” continued Steele.
“Despite the ongoing air pollution disaster in the South African coal fields and industrial heartlands, our health minister has decided against participating in the first-ever World Health Organisation (WHO) Conference on Air Pollution and Health. This is an unquantifiable set-back for the poor masses of South Africa, whose health and well-being deteriorates daily due to inhaling polluted air. The WHO has confirmed that air pollution, both ambient and indoor, is the largest cause of death worldwide,” Peek said.
The data, generated by the European Space Agency’s new satellite between June and August 2018 and analysed by Greenpeace, has revealed that Mpumalanga recorded the largest NO2 emissions across six continents surveyed.
NO2 or Nitrogen Dioxide contributes to the formation of PM2.5 and ozone, stated by Greenpeace as two of the most dangerous forms of air pollution.
“It has been reported before that the Witbank area has the world’s dirtiest air, and now this analysis of high tech satellite data has revealed that the Mpumalanga province is the global number one hotspot for NO2 emissions,” said Melita Steele, Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager for Greenpeace Africa.
“This confirms that South Africa has the most polluting cluster of coal-fired power stations in the world which is both disturbing and very scary,” she stated.
According to a statement by Greenpeace Africa, coal and transport were the two principle sources of air pollution at Mpumalanga, which is home to a cluster of 12 coal fired power plants with a total capacity of over 32 gigawatts – owned and operated by Eskom.
The satellite data further reveals that the nearby cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria are also highly affected by extreme NO2 pollution levels, which blow across from Mpumalanga.
“Air pollution is a global health crisis, with up to 95% of the world’s population breathing unsafe air. (South Africa) urgently needs to come up with an action plan that protects millions of people – instead of dirty coal power stations,” Steele pointed out.
“The reality is that coal extraction and burning has devastating impacts on the people living in the area,” continued Steele.
Other African countries mentioned in the list of largest NO2 hotspots in the wold include Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt.
“Air pollution is a global health crisis, with up to 95% of the world’s population breathing unsafe air,” Steele stated.
Compared with many other countries South Africa has relatively weak Minimum Emission Standards (MES), that allow coal-fired power stations to emit up to 10 times more NO2 than allowed in developed countries.
In a report by South Africa’s Eyewitness news however, Eskom has said it’s in the process of developing technology to help reduce emissions. The effort is estimated will take up to $478m to complete.
With a generating capacity of more than 40,000 MW, South Africa–based Eskom is Africa’s largest energy utility, and ranks as one of the top five energy utilities in the world. Eskom is a de facto monopoly in South Africa, and also generates over half the electricity produced in the whole of Africa, with operations in 31 countries on the continent. Because of its heavy reliance on coal, it is the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions in South Africa. Eskom management has also stated that it intends to rely increasingly on nuclear power. And in recent years, Eskom has begun to promote new dams and buy existing hydropower plants around the continent as it seeks to expand its influence across Africa.
This paper explores the company’s social and ecological footprint across Africa. Coal will remain Eskom’s major fuel source for the foreseeable future, though its intention to move forward with a controversial nuclear reactor indicates the seriousness of its stated goal to replace some coal with nuclear power. In 2001,
Eskom used more than 94 million tons of coal to produce 181,511 GWh of electricity. Eskom remains South Africa’s single largest source of climate–changing carbon dioxide emissions. In 2001 CO2 emission increased from 159.4 million tons to 169.3 million tons. It is also a source of disease–causing air pollution. It is estimated that around 2,000 children die annually as a result of respiratory infections caused by air pollution in South Africa, the sixth largest killer of children under four in the nation.
Eskom also manages or owns shares of hydro plants around the continent, including the following:
A 15–year operation and maintenance contract for the Manantali Dam in Mali, which Manantali will provide electricity to Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. This project has had severe impacts on the regional ecology, local agricultural production, fisheries, and public health. The reservoir forced 12,000 agriculturalists to resettle, and severely compromised their livelihoods.
A 20–year concession to operate Kiira and Nalubale dams on the Nile in Uganda (these dams currently supply virtually all the nation’s grid–electricity).
A 51% shareholding in Zambia’s Lusemfwa Hydro Power Company, which owns two hydropower stations in Zambia at Mulungushi and Lusemfwa.
In addition to expanding its controlling stake in existing hydropower projects around Africa, Eskom is the main beneficiary of the giant Cahora Bassa Dam on the Zambezi River in Mozambique. Under a controversial colonial agreement, Eskom buys most of the power from this dam, then resells it at higher rates to Mozambique.
The 2,000 megawatt Cahora Bassa, built by the Portuguese during the colonial era (and still 82% owned by the Portuguese government), is some $2.5 billion in debt, in part because of the absurdly low value of the Eskom contract. A March 29, 2003 article in The Economistmagazine states: “Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), the company that operates the power station, is obliged to sell most of its output to South Africa, at a paltry price that, amazingly, is fixed until 2030. Mozambique then finds itself re–importing power at market rates.”
Eskom and the governments of Portugal and Mozambique continue to argue over the price Eskom pays for power from the dam, but Eskom is the 600–pound gorilla in the fight, and refuses to let its much poorer neighbor renegotiate the terms of the contract. “The situation is absurd,” Carlos Vega Angelos, the chairman of HCB, told The Economist. “South Africa is selling back to Mozambique electricity we supplied to them in the first place, but at ten times the price.” Eskom has stated it will not pay any more for power from Cahora Bassa than it costs to produce in South Africa. Eskom is now paying R3.7cents a kilowatt hour (currently equivalent to about a half a US cent) in terms of an agreement reached in 2001, after having paid only about R2 cents a kilowatt hour for seven years before that. HCB also wants payment to be made in US dollars rather than in rands, as the local currency has lost a large percentage of its value against the dollar. In January 2002, Angelos told Business Day that HCB might seek international arbitration over the deal.
An article in Business Report (February 14, 2003) states, “Eskom Holdings and four other power utilities are forming a multibillion–dollar power company” that will “supply power from the Inga dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through Angola and Namibia to South Africa. It will be jointly owned and operated by the power utilities in Angola, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and the DRC.” Eskom sees the Grand Inga project as central to a regional plan to establish an African grid that could extend all the way to the Middle East and western Europe.
READ MORE HERE ABOUT AFRICA
Eskom in Afrika