25 February 2019

South Africa: The Sorry State of Air Pollution From Eskom's Coal-Fired Power Stations

Photo: Pixabay
(File photo).

With all the emphasis on Eskom's financial and operational sustainability and future structure, the utility's environmental performance and sustainability are inevitably neglected, and indeed has become the sacrificial lamb on the altar of the money gods.

In October 2018, an analysis and study of Eskom's own air pollution monitoring reports, commissioned by the Centre for Environmental Rights and undertaken by Dr Ranajit (Ron) Sahu, a US-based consultant in the field of environmental, mechanical and chemical engineering, revealed the sorry state of Eskom's atmospheric emissions -- with some 3,200 exceedances of its atmospheric emission licence limits in a 21-month period.

Dr Ron Sahu and Robyn Hugo in a more pristine setting

The analysis was presented in the form of a report to the Department of Environmental Affairs, provincial and municipal licensing authorities and Eskom, and follows an earlier study of Eskom's annual emission reports conducted by Professor Eugene Cairncross, emeritus professor of chemical engineering at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

EE Publishers' investigative editor Chris Yelland spoke to Dr Sahu, Professor Cairncross and lawyer Robyn Hugo, head of the pollution and climate change programme at the Centre for Environmental Rights, to find out more about the issues.

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