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Correction: How much are we paying for air pollution?

September 13, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Yesterday, we incorrectly referred to the annual cost of health impacts of coal from Eskom’s power stations as in excess of R30 trillion annually, through hospital admissions and lost working days. This figure is in fact R30 billion annually, as is evident from the footnote in our statement: $int2.37 billion annually converted at an exchange rate of ZAR12,78:USD1.

Today, Eskom told the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs that it estimates that it would cost Eskom R300 billion to fully comply with the minimum emission standards for air pollution.

In its presentation to the Portfolio Committee, environmental justice organisation groundWork argued that investing in air pollution controls is a no-brainer: in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency calculates that every $1 of investment in pollution control on average saves $25 in healthcare costs.

The Portfolio Committee was hosting an Air Quality Colloquium in Parliament today.

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.

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