Doubling SO2: loyalties lie with polluters, not people

2020-04-02 06:01

THE doubling of the minimum emissions standards for Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), was last week gazetted by Barbara Creecy, Minister of the Department of Environment, Forestry Weakening the limit from an already weak 500mg/Nm3 to 1 000mg/Nm3 - is 10 times weaker than the polluted India’s limit and 28 times weaker than China’s limit.

In response, Bukelwa Nzimande, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa, said: “There is nothing in the world that can justify the government’s decision to approve a further 3 300 deaths every year.

“In a time of great fear and uncertainty, South Africa needs to see that the government has the courage and political will to address issues that have threatened and now have express permission to continue to threaten, our livelihood.

“It defies all logic and humanity that, in a global crisis, Minister Creecy has made a decision that indicates the opposite: that South African lives are less valuable than profits.

“Doubling the SO2 limits in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is nothing short of irresponsible, and a flagrant disregard for the health and humanity of the people of South Africa.

“Big polluters like Eskom and Sasol have been trying to dodge their accountability to South Africans for years. Weakening the limits further means they can do so with minimal effort, and mutes the urgency of a Just Transition to renewable energy. In the face of a mountain of evidence that a pro-pollution decision will only lead to more unnecessary deaths, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries has shown that its loyalties lie with polluters, not people,” concluded Nzimande. – REPORTER

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