Eskom has issued a statement regarding a recent health study conducted by Gray Sky Solutions.
The study found that air pollution caused by Eskom and Sasol had harmful effects on the health of Johannesburg residents, causing hundreds of early deaths.
It was included as expert evidence in High Court papers served on Friday 7 June 2019 to the President of South Africa, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, and the National Air Quality Officer.
“Eskom takes note of the proposed legal action against the Department of Environmental Affairs and the linkages to Eskom,” Eskom said.
“The health study carried out by Dr Gray has very similar findings to studies commissioned by Eskom since 2006.”
Shutting down power stations
Eskom acknowledges that its facilities may have a negative impact on health, and said it is implementing a pollution reduction plan to minimise these effects.
The power utility said it plans to install pollution ablatement technology on new power stations as well as on existing plants, and aims to spend over R46 billion on this project over the next five to ten years.
Eskom also announced that it would shut down and decommission several power stations before 2030, which would reduce ambient pollution and the subsequent negative health effects.
“Eskom is also implementing an offset project which is aimed at reducing the use of coal in households for cooking and heating,” the company said.
“Up to 40,000 households will be fitted with ceilings to improve insulation and coal stoves will be replaced with a combination of electricity and LPG stoves and heaters.”
Eskom noted that the level of pollution in the Mpumalanga area requires urgent attention.
“The air quality monitoring and modelling carried out by Eskom shows elevated levels of particulate matter and a likely more significant impact on people’s health.”
“It is therefore important for government departments, industry and NGOs to work together to find the best combination of mitigation options to reduce exposure to the many sources of pollution,” the power utility said.