Greenpeace and NUM scrap over air pollution in Mpumalanga

Ignoring air pollution puts people’s lives on the line.

Greenpeace Africa said this on Monday in response to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) describing its reports about air pollution due to coal power stations in Mpumalanga as “reckless”.

“It is in the interests of all South Africans‚ of all ages and economic backgrounds‚ to breathe clean air. It is particularly important for our children‚ who are most vulnerable to the devastating health impacts of breathing polluted air‚” Greenpeace Africa climate and energy campaign manager Melita Steele said.

NUM called Greenpeace “reckless” after it said an analysis of satellite data showed that Mpumalanga had the worst nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air pollution across six continents.

“The reckless and impetuous statement is a clear campaign by Greenpeace Africa that the government should close power stations and coal mines in Mpumalanga‚” the trade union said.

Greenpeace analysed data produced by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel 5P satellite from June 1 to August 31. The list of the world’s nitrogen dioxide hotspots consists of places with coal-fired power plants. The data showed that Johannesburg and Pretoria were also affected by NO2 pollution blown across from Mpumalanga by regular easterly winds.

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