Right now Eskom is attempting to bypass pollution laws designed to protect our health. At some coal plants, Eskom is hoping to pump out eight times more pollution than the legal limit.
Eskom says complying with the law would cost them too much, and that its coal plants don’t affect human health – a claim that even Eskom’s own research has rubbished.
Findings show that complying with the pollution standards would prevent up to 20,000 premature deaths – not complying could cause them.
After submitting it’s first application last year, Eskom was asked to submit additional information by the Department of Environmental Affairs. Eskom has just made those submissions and the decision on their application is expected any day now. This is our final chance to speak up and demand that Eskom be held accountable for their pollution, and to ask the National Air Quality Officer to make sure that Eskom complies with the law.
Eskom is applying for long-term postponements for two-thirds of its coal-fired power stations from complying with the Minimum Emission Standards, which form part of the National Air Quality Act, are coming into effect in 2015, and have been put in place to protect our health.
According to the law, polluters are allowed to apply for postponements like these, but only if they can prove that their level of pollution does not negatively impact on people or the environment.
Eskom argues that it will cost too much to comply, there isn’t enough water to fit technology onto the plants that will reduce sulphur dioxide in particular, the price of electricity would have to go up, and that people’s health isn’t significantly harmed by the coal fired power stations.
But a Greenpeace study shows that if Eskom doesn’t comply with the standards, it could cause 20 000 premature deaths. It is impossible to put a price on people’s lives.
These postponements haven’t yet been approved and you can help us stop them.
Take action: Tell the National Air Quality Officer, Dr Thuli Mdluli, to very carefully review Eskom’s application, and to deny Eskom a free pollution ticket. No corporation should be above the law, not even Eskom.
Act now: Tell the National Air Quality Officer to deny Eskom’s application for a free pollution ticket here.