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South African Coal Town Kriel is One of Top SO2 Emissions Hot Spots - NASA

Coal News - Published on Fri, 23 Aug 2019

Image Source: Reuters
Reuters reported that South African coal mining town, Kriel, has been identified by satellite data from US space agency NASA as having one of the highest sulfur dioxide emissions in the world. The only place with higher emissions is Russia’s Norilsk smelter complex. Scientists said that excessive exposure to SO2 particles causes long-term respiratory difficulties and stunted growth in infants among other problems. Kriel about 150km east of Johannesburg is home to state power utility Eskom’s 2,850 megawatt Kriel Power Station, a short distance from two other coal-fired plants Matla and Kendel as well as Sasol’s coal-to-liquid plants. The town is part of a 31,000 sq km area that covers three provinces and houses 12 coal power stations. It was declared a high-priority zone by the government in 2007 because of dangerously high pollution.

The International Energy Agency said that South Africa is Africa’s worst polluter and one of the world’s top 10 coal producers, with an estimated 3.5% of the world’s coal resources.

Environmental and community groups sued the government in June for failing to tackle high pollution in the Highveld Priority Area. The groups want the court to force the government to implement an air quality management plan that was published by the environmental affairs minister in 2012.

Environmental ministry spokesman Mr Albi Modise said the NASA report was worrying and that national air quality plans needed to be reviewed urgently but that economic growth also had to be protected. You can’t wake up and say you’re closing all the coal power stations; imagine what will happen to electricity supply and the communities around them? We have to balance growth with protecting the environment.

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Posted By : Sanju Moirangthem on Fri, 23 Aug 2019
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