Kriel pollution: Eskom’s foul legacy
The little Mpumalanga town of Kriel used to have just two claims to fame: the mammoth Kriel and Matla power plants. But it’s now achieved global notoriety as the world’s second-largest sulphur dioxide hotspot, after the industrial city of Norilsk in Russia, and ahead of the Zagros petrochemical complex in Iran
The kitchen window of Virginia and Arwie Nell’s modest home in Kriel, Mpumalanga, offers a view of the mountain-like Matla power station in the distance.
"Some days there’s pitch-black smoke coming out, other days it’s grey, other days it’s yellow," says Virginia. "I have no idea what it is, but there’s definitely an acid-type smell. If the wind blows in this direction, it burns. You cough and your throat is sore."