Eskom denies deadly pollution

Johannesburg - Eskom on Friday disputed a report that air pollution from two of its coal power stations caused the deaths of 17 people yearly.

"We believe that the article is based on incorrect assumptions regarding Eskom's mitigation of environmental impact of power stations," spokesperson Andrew Etzinger said.

"The impact is significantly exaggerated. The study is not applicable and it is not accurate."

The Mail & Guardian on Friday reported that air pollution from two coal power stations in two provinces killed at least 20 people a year and this could rise to 617, with 25 000 people hospitalised once all its stations were running.

According to the report, this was revealed in an Eskom-commissioned report released after an application by an environmental rights organisation.

According to the report, the figures were contained in reports from 2006 that Eskom was forced to release after non-governmental organisation the Centre for Environmental Rights filed a Promotion of Access to Information Act application.

Etzinger said the study was undertaken in 2006 based on plans for the parastatal to build two large power stations - one in the Free State and another in Mpumalanga.

The bulk of the study was based on two power stations that Eskom was not building, he said.

"What the study does not include is the impact of Eskom's environmental mitigations that we have put in place to reduce the impact," he said.

"The study is outdated and does not reflect reality."

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