Oil and chemicals giant Sasol will start public consultations next year as part of a process of applying to postpone compliance with some of the new air-quality standards applicable by 2020, Sasol’s executive vice-president of Southern African operations Bernard Klingenberg said on Wednesday. Environmentalists and local communities in the Vaal Triangle and Highveld have complained for decades about air pollution by heavy industry, mainly Sasol, ArcelorMittal SA and Eskom. All three entities operate old plants, built before current air-quality standards were put in place, and have argued it will be expensive and not entirely effective to retrofit clean air technology. Klingenberg said Sasol invested R20bn over the past 15 years on environmental improvement programmes. But it has challenges in meeting the new 2020 standards in two particular areas: its sulphur dioxide (SO²) and hydrogen sulphide (H²S) emissions. It would be able to meet most of the new standards by 2025.

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