NUM is opposed to Greenpeace ranking Mpumalanga air dirtiest

NUM is opposed to Greenpeace ranking Mpumalanga air dirtiest
INHALING DEATH: The National Union of Mineworkers says it condemns the report by Greenpeace Africa on Mpumalanga pollution levels. PICTURE BY Delmarvanow.

They say Greenpeace is obviously on a campaign to have the independent power producers project implemented.

NUM is opposed to a report released by Greenpeace ranking Mpumalanga air the dirtiest in the world.

The union says Greenpeace was ‘reckless’ when it said that Mpumalanga had the world’s dirtiest air.

It says they have noted with “with utter disgust” the “reckless statement”.

“The reckless and impetuous statement is a clear campaign by Greenpeace Africa that the government should close power stations and coal mines in Mpumalanga,” Highveld secretary Tshilidzi Mathavha said in a statement released Monday this week.

Mpumalanga is home to a cluster of twelve coal fired power plants with a total capacity of over 32 gigawatts owned and operated by Eskom.

Greenpeace released the report a week ago and called on the South African government to “set up an action plan with concrete steps, measures and deadlines to make sure that air pollution levels in high priority areas comply with existing regulations”.

It wants the government to add no new coal-fired power stations in the national electricity plan and unit 5 and 6 of Kusile coal power station to be cancelled.

They also want 50% of current coal-fired power stations to be decommissioned by 2030 “in line with the IPCC Special Report on 1.5”.

The list of the largest air polluters in the world includes South Africa’s coal-fired power plants here in Mpumalanga, Germany and India – and a total of nine coal power and industrial clusters in China.

Cities such as Santiago de Chile, London, Paris, Dubai and Tehran also feature high in the ranking due to transport-related emissions.

But compared to many other countries, South Africa is said to have weak Minimum Emission Standards.

All of Eskom’s coal-powered plants do not comply with Minimum Emission Standards, Greenpeace said.

It said in 2015, Eskom was granted a 5-year postponement from complying with MES. In 2018, Eskom has again applied for postponements for nitrogen oxides for 16 of its 19 power plants.

NUM said Greenpeace is advancing the interests of rich people and did not care about poor people and workers.

“If the power stations and coal mines are closed [down] in Mpumalanga several towns including Witbank will become ghost towns‚” Mathavha said.

“If the power stations and mines are shut down‚ the economy of our country will collapse and the people will be left in darkness,” he said.

NUM also criticised Greenpeace Africa for supporting the implementation of independent power producers (IPPs).

“We are saying and we have said that Eskom is a government entity — if the IPPs have got power to generate‚ let them stand alone and compete with Eskom. The NUM is going to defend these jobs,” Mathavha said.

(edited by MLM)

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