Anti-Coal 3 plant city protest today

2013-09-27 00:00

GROUNDWORK, a local environmental justice organisation, will hold a protest to demand that Eskom stop the building of the Coal 3 coal-fired power station today.

Coal 3 is to be built in Limpopo near the existing Medupi power station.

The event will be held at the Pietermaritzburg Eskom Office at the corner of Boshoff Street and Church Street from 10 am to 1 pm.

This will coincide with the tabling by the UN’s scientific body on climate change’s release of its Fifth Assessment Report on the physical science basis of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts in Stockholm today.

Director of groundWork, Bobby Peek, said building Coal 3 directly conflicted with the findings of this report. “What South Africa needs to do to slow down climate change, which will cause catastrophic droughts, floods, food scarcity, increase of disease and poverty,” he said.

Peek said R200 billion was needed to build Coal 3 and the cost for Medupi has nearly doubled to R150 billion, causing further suffering for taxpayers.

He said Eskom needed to diversify its energy sources; solar and wind plants are cleaner, safer and faster to build.

Peek said Coal 3 will contribute towards more pollutants, contradicting government’s commitment to a 34% decrease in emissions by 2020. He said this pollution will cause serious respiratory conditions and cancer and leads to early deaths.

groundWork received backing from Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom. On Wednesday he told a meeting hosted by the Water Research Commission in Pretoria that pollution from and excessive water use by a third mega coal-fired power plant in SA would have serious repercussions for the country’s food and energy security.

Hanekom said Coal 3 would use a lot of water while only 74% of SA’s citizens had access to stable water supply. He added that it was understandable that water shortages constantly lead to service delivery protests in South Africa.

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