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Aerial ‘Toxic Tour’ of Mpumalanga’s coal-fired power stations with GP Africa
27 November 2018, 1:34 PM

The city of eMahleni has been identified as having the dirtiest air quality in the world. The European Space Agency conducted research using satellite imagery.

Greenpeace released satellite data from June to August this year which reveals the world’s largest Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) air pollution.

Mpumalanga, one of South Africa’s industrial heartlands, is said to have the dirtiest air in the world which is harmful to residents and the atmosphere.

It said that the cluster of Eskom’s 12 coal firing stations within a 25km radius – alongside Eskom failing to comply with Minimum Emission Standards (MES), ranked the area as the dirtiest cluster of coal-fired power stations globally.

The region is also heavily mined and home to Sasol’s massive refinery in Secunda.

Watch below for the ‘Toxic Tour’ of Mpumalanga’s coal-fired power stations with Greenpeace Africa:

Melita Steele, Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager for Greenpeace Africa explains that the easterly winds blew the pollution to Gauteng and that this combination regularly exposes Gauteng residents to extreme and dangerous levels of NO2.

“Air pollution affects us all and the coal problem in Mpumalanga means that winds are being blown across into Pretoria and Johannesburg, affecting the 8 million people living there and we can’t continue to rely on coal going forward because people’s lives are on the line.”

It’s a well-known fact that South Africa is a legacy in terms of coal and has generated employment. Mobilisation Officer for Greenpeace Africa, August Maluka, says that however employment has been generated by the coal industry, it’s important that people need to be kept healthy. Maluka says that renewable energy generates healthier jobs.

“The most important thing is to recognise that when it comes to alternatives like renewable energy that all the stakeholders, trade unions like government, they need to embrace the fact that there is a just transition that is there in terms of creating safer and healthier jobs.“

[AERIAL PHOTOS] Greenpeace Africa has been invited to present its NO2 Global Mapping Report in Parliament following the…

Posted by SABC News Online on Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Parliament’s portfolio committee on Environmental Affairs invited Greenpeace to present the report as part of an inquiry into air pollution and MES alongside representatives from the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The report was widely criticised.

CSIR said there was no question that Mpumalanga was a hotspot for NO2 emissions… …but there was no evidence that it was the worst in the world.

An expert from the Department of Environmental Affairs agreed that people on the ground were not exposed to dangerous levels of NO2 and described the report as propaganda.

Greenpeace Africa said that it was not surprised that the Department of Environmental Affairs defended “mega-polluters” on air pollution.

Nhlanhla Sibisi, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa says that it is the quality of life that they are trying to protect in South Africa.

“The impact from the air quality report clearly states where the biggest problems are and we do have a challenge in South Africa in terms of the quality of air that we have. We’re saying that it’s something that needs to be taken seriously because it’s evidence based, it’s data that has been compiled and it’s data that we believe from a country’s perspective we need to take heed of and it’s important that we do something about it, action needs to be taken now.

Steele: “The importance of people standing together on issues around air pollution and coal and renewable energy cannot be underestimated. South Africa has some of the best renewable resources in the world but unless we really take acting to invest in renewable energy seriously we’re going to be stuck with things like toxic air pollution from coal for the foreseeable future.”

While South Africa’s indigenous energy resource is dominated by coal-fired power stations, pollution will always remain a factor.

WATCH LIVE: Fly over approximately 15km east of eMalahleni in Mpumalanga. eMalahleni, home of coal, is the heartbeat of the economy but it’s said to have the dirtiest air in the world.The European Space Agency conducted research using satellite imagery. Greenpeace released satellite data from June to August this year which reveals the world’s largest Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) air pollution. Read more: http://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/emalahleni-residents-concerned-about-their-health/

Posted by SABC News Online on Friday, 16 November 2018

In recent weeks the hard-hitting film won the Green Tenacity award at the San Francisco Green Film event.
Homecoming premiere for multiple award winning film on rhino poaching
21 November 2018, 7:33 PM

The award-winning South African documentary film STROOP – journey into the rhino horn war- premiered in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Two first-time filmmakers, Bonné de Bod and Susan Scott stopped their lives to make a film about the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa.

Carving out six months for the project, the women quickly found themselves immersed in a world far larger and more dangerous than they had imagined, only emerging from their odyssey four years later.

Scott: “In making the film about the rhino poaching crisis, I initially thought it would be all about the rhinos, but it’s actually become about the people around the animal. Those whose lives have been irrevocably changed because of conditions brought about.. not ecological management or natural events… but wholly due to anthropogenic activities.”

STROOP tells the shocking story of the ongoing poaching of the rhinoceros and the trade in its coveted horn. The passionate duo found themselves in danger during the making, filming special ranger units in the Kruger National Park.

— PREMIERE OF STROOP IN SOUTH AFRICA TODAY — Packed cinema here at the Nu Metro in Hyde Park this morning for the African premiere of STROOP.

Posted by S T R O O P – journey into the rhino horn war on Wednesday, 21 November 2018

They also travelled undercover to the back rooms of wildlife traffickers and dealers in China and Vietnam. In recent weeks the hard-hitting film won the Green Tenacity award at the San Francisco Green Film event. It also raked in the Best Documentary Award at the San Diego Film Festival.

In Los Angeles, the film scooped the Best Female Filmmakers’ Award at the Glendale Film Festival, as well as the Special Documentary of Focus Award from the city’s premiere festival, L.A Femme. It was further crowned the Best Documentary flick at the San Pedro Film Fest, also held in L.A.

Bonné de Bod: “STROOP was initially a six month project. But I think when myself and the director of the film, Susan Scott, started filming we had no idea just how many layers the rhino situation really has. So, four years later, quiting our jobs with broadcasters, selling our homes, cashing in our investments and moving in with our mothers. Well, it has certainly become the cliché… a passion project!”

Watch the trailer below:

N West’s Kromellenboog dam at only 2.5% full
11 November 2018, 9:12 PM

Dam levels in the North West are the lowest in the country. Water and Sanitation says the province’s dams were about 76% full in October last year. The average is now just 57.5%.

Fish in the Kromellenboog Dam near Groot Marico are consequently dying.

The Riekert Dam, is a mere 30% full, compared to last year’s 80%.

Even more alarming is the Kromellenbogen Dam, which is at only 2.5% full, compared to last year’s 51%; meaning that fish perish in large numbers.

Levels drop quickly, due to little rain, and high evaporation in the extreme heat but farmers who irrigate illegally, are the biggest culprit. Using up to one month’s water quota, in just one week.

Susanne Kalcic, Chairperson of the Marico River Forum: “At this stage there’s a lot of illegal irrigation and abstractions going on upstream from the dams. They are not regulated by the government. Court rulings from many years ago are not enforced. It’s not police… More and more pumps are put into the river, pivots pop up.”

Kalcic explains that if this continues without intervention, the effects could be devastating…

“If our dam runs dry, we will be bankrupt. The food security… We employ thousands of workers on this irrigation scheme. Some of our fresh produce are exported to Botswana. We supply the fresh produce markets in Pretoria and Johannesburg. Seed maize is produced, soy beans… It will be a catastrophe. Bankruptcy, unemployment… We will lose our farms. “

JP van den Berg farms potatoes near Tosca. He has installed water meters on all his dams and uses up to 40% less water for irrigation, than his allowed quota.

Van den Berg: “Irrigation farmers often get a bad rap, but many of us do a lot behind the scenes to preserve water, and we ensure that water levels stabilise to the point it was before planting season. That is why I submit myself to an audit every two years, to ensure the image I portray, is positive.“

The Department of Water and Sanitation, acknowledged receipt of SABC’s enquiries but did not respond.

Watch below as N West’s Kromellenboog Dam runs low:

Protesting residents
Makhanda residents want municipality placed under administration
11 November 2018, 9:00 PM

Fed up residents are saying enough is enough in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape. They want their municipality placed under administration. Water scarcity is one of the main issues.

In 2015 the Makana Municipality hired Amatola Water to providing sanitation and water.

This included managing ageing infrastructure. Two years later Amatola Water withdrew its services due to a R40 million unpaid debt.

Bongani Selu has lived here most of his life. The water here is disconnected at night to allow the reservoirs to fill. He says that he cannot remember a day when they had running water for 24 hours.

“We don’t drink the water that comes from the tap, because as you can see its brown and very murky, we only use it to bath. It tastes really bad so we rather buy water from the local spaza, but even that is expensive, because not many families can afford that. So they are forced to drink it which makes the kids sick.”

Sewage spills make living here a nightmare.

Lizziwe Lukwe, Makhanda East Resident: “I’m really sickly, and even when this water entered my home I was already sick and it made it worse. I have extreme backaches, kidney problems and other ailments and this water makes it worse, but I endure it, I have no choice.”

Authorities are aware of the problems.

Mayor Nomhle Gaga: “What we did as a municipality was that we did audits of electricity, water and sewer and roads and we have got business plans, which we are using to source funding and using those business plans. So as Makana municipality, specifically for water we have got future plans whereby we have already started upgrading the James Kleynhans water treatment works, cause with that if we have upgraded it, everybody in Makhanda even in the townships and town area will get water from there.”

Watch as Makhanda residents lament lack of service delivery below:

At the time it was a manual operation due to cable theft which hindered automatic signals.
Former PRASA train driver wins unfair dismissal battle
11 November 2018, 7:21 PM

A former PRASA train driver has won his battle against the passenger rail operator. He was unfairly dismissed following a train accident last year. The collision was one of a dozen incidents that occurred in the last 12 months.

Kgomotso Senokwane is a Metrorail driver, one of hundreds responsible for the transport of about two million commuters daily.

Last June, the trip from Elandsfontein to Jhb was his last ride. That morning commute ended with one dead and fifty five injured when the train he was operating collided with another.

Senokwane explains: “I was authorised to pass at a couple of the signals because they were not in operation on the way to my destination signal. I collided with another train.”

At the time it was a manual operation due to cable theft which hindered automatic signals.

The train driver was suspended and his legal battle began.

Senokwane: “I was charged with 6 charges of misconduct, went to the CCMA and they ruled that I was unfairly dismissed and compensated with 6 months’ salary.”

The Rail Safety Regulator suspended PRASA’s safety permit after an October accident left 320 injured. The High Court ruled the train operator complied with the safety requirements.

Watch below as a former train driver wins battle against PRASA:



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