South Africa | Death and destruction: What’s left out of energy planning

The South African Department of Energy’s released Integrated Resource Plan does not seriously factor in the pollution impact of its current and planned energy mix and appears to have distorted the data to favour coal and nuclear, writes David Hallowes, researcher for groundWork (Healthy Energy Initiative’s partner in South Africa):

Pollution from Eskom’s [coal-fired] power plants result in 2,240 attributable deaths each year. And every day, some 11,000 people are physically restricted in what they can do while 2,700 lose the day’s work. The economic impact is in the order of R33-billion a year according to an assessment of the epidemiological data by researcher Mike Holland.

Hallowes notes that these figures relate only to power plant emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulates. They do not account for other health impacts from South Africa’s dependence on coal which are harder to quantify, such as the health impacts from the air and water pollution associated with coal mining, pollution’s effect on physical and mental development, how pollution compounds existing health problems such as HIV/AIDS, and the power plants’ contribution to climate change.

Read the full op-ed by David Hallowes in the Daily Maverick: Death and destruction: What’s left out of energy planning

Read about the study by Mike Holland in the Saturday Star: “High cost of polluting foul air from Eskom’s coal-fired power stations

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