The township of Phola is heavily polluted by coal-fired power stations. Photo: © Mukurukuru Media /

South African coal risks almost 80,000 lives

South Africa’s state-owned power company, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd, operates 15 coal-fired power stations. Most of them are located in the Mpumalanga province east of the capital, Johannesburg.

A government-appointed panel has calculated the cost in human lives of continued operation after 2025 until the power stations reach their end of life. They state that the air pollution from the facilities risks killing 79,500 people during this period, if they are not decommissioned early. However, there are no such plans. And the company has so far been reluctant to comply with existing emission standards.  

Report from Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air:  Health impacts of Eskom’s non-compliance with minimum emissions standards


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