By Mukwevho Caiphus
The issue of air pollution in Mpumalanga is real and its effects are inevitable. The province is a hub of coal supply that aid immensely in power utility of the country and coal exports.
According to Greenpeace, coal mines, transport and Eskom’s 12 coal-fired power stations have been identified as the biggest sources of air pollution in Mpumalanga Province.
Without overlooking the significant role mines and coal fired Power station in the province and ultimately to the country’s grid and economy, persistent exposure to high notrogen oxide polluted air and ozone leads to a range of long-term health conditions such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Whilst we are moving towards the use of renewable energy and green economy, we must pay high attention to the consequences of the impacts of air pollution that has lasted for long in the province which is cumulative with other activities in the Province.
According to the World Health Organisation, 4.2 million people die every year as a result of exposure to outdoor air pollution. This type of pollution contributed to 7.6% of all deaths in 2016. It is also the kind of pollution that blows across Mpumalanga. As air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increases for the people who live in polluted communities.