The government and SA’s biggest science council challenged Greenpeace Africa’s claim that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions from Eskom’s coal-fired power plants in Mpumalanga threatened the health of eight-million people living in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Greenpeace Africa released a report on October 29 that identified Mpumalanga as the world’s biggest NO2 pollution hotspot. It said easterly winds blew the pollution from the highveld to urban areas in Gauteng, regularly exposing its residents to “extreme and dangerous levels” of NO2. The pollutant raises the risk of respiratory problems, as it inflames the lining of the lungs and reduces a person’s immunity to infections. Parliament’s portfolio committee on environmental affairs invited Greenpeace to present its findings as part of an inquiry it is conducting into air pollution and minimum emission standards, along with representatives from the department of environmental affairs and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Resea...

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