Skip to Content

Centre for Environmental Rights - Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

Support Us Join our Mailing List

Media

News

NGOs challenge Eskom’s latest application to escape compliance with air pollution laws

7 February 2020 at 2:35 pm

September 23, 2016. Kriel Power Station. Coal mining and power stations in Mpumalanga. Picture: JAMES OATWAY
September 23, 2016. Kriel Power Station. Coal mining and power stations in Mpumalanga. Picture: JAMES OATWAY

CAPE TOWN: Eskom has for a 5th time applied to escape compliance with South Africa’s air pollution laws.

The Life After Coal campaign, consisting of groundWork, Earthlife Africa and the Centre for Environmental Rights, has filed comprehensive submissions opposing Eskom’s latest application to delay or completely avoid meeting the April 2020 pollution limits for its coal power plants.

Despite being the biggest polluter in South Africa and already receiving widespread postponements of compliance deadlines, Eskom is still attempting to delay or completely avoid meeting the April 2020 pollution limits in the Minimum Emission Standards (MES) for 14 of its 15 dirty and deadly coal-fired power stations. Eskom’s various applications across its fleet of power stations blatantly undermine the MES, which exist to protect people’s health and wellbeing, social and economic development, and the environment.

The Background Information Document for Eskom’s latest application for weaker pollution limits – at Medupi and Matimba power stations – was provided for comment after the application deadline of 31 March 2019 (by this date, complete applications – including air pollution impact assessments and full and completed public participation processes – were required to be submitted to the National Air Quality Officer).

The further documents for Medupi and Matimba are still awaited, as are additional applications for Eskom’s Grootvlei, Acacia, and Port Rex facilities.

Medupi and Matimba – like all of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations – are located in an air quality priority area. In the Waterberg-Bojanala Priority Area, air pollution is higher than permitted by South Africa’s weak air quality standards, resulting in serious impacts on the health and well-being of local residents. Eskom’s unlawful application to effectively exempt Medupi and Matimba from compliance with the MES through to the closure of these stations is unconstitutional and should be summarily rejected by the National Air Quality Officer.

END

CONTACT: Robyn Hugo - rhugo@cer.org.za; Lerato Balendran - lbalendran@cer.org

NOTES TO EDITOR:  

Documents:

Contact Us

  • Cape Town

    Second Floor, Springtime Studios, 1 Scott Road, Observatory, 7925 - View Map
  • Johannesburg

    First Floor, DJ du Plessis Building, West Campus, University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein, 2001 - View Map

Section 24of 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.

Report a Violation

0800 205 005

Contact the National Environmental Crimes & Incidents Hotline (24 hours) or one of the national and provincial hotlines.