South Africas coal-fired power stations carry heavy health costs

In the settlement of Masakhane near the Duvha plant, residents wear masks to avoid breathing in the coal dust

South Africas dependence on coal to generate 85% of its electricity is taking a substantial toll on human health, according to environmental groups. A report from Greenpeace (pdf) in February estimates that up to 2,700 premature deaths are caused every year by emissions from the countrys 16 coal-fired power plants.

Greenpeace released the report in the wake of an application by Eskom, South Africas public power utility, to postpone compliance with new minimum emissions standards aimed at reducing the damaging health impacts of air pollution.

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