South African government sued for failing to tackle high air pollution levels
South African government sued for failing to tackle high air pollution levels in an area which is home to coal-fired power stations and refineries, a lawsuit filed by environmental and community groups says.
An article published online by international news organisation Reuters yesterday claims the South African government are facing a lawsuit for failing to tackle high air pollution levels.
Reuters say the case was filed in the Pretoria High Court on Friday and the alleges that the South African government has violated the constitutional right to a healthy environment for people living and working in the densely-polluted Highveld Priority Area. The case was brought by environmental justice group groundWork and community organization Vukani Environmental Justice Movement in Action.
South Africa is Africa’s most advanced economy however it is also its worst polluter, generating most of its energy from coal-fired power plants that emit millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Vukani chairperson Vusai Mabaso released a statement on the matter, saying “Together with groundWork, Vukani has decided to use litigation to push government to take urgent steps to deal with the high air pollution and in the interest of our health and to protect our right to clean air,”.
The Highveld Priority Area was declared a climate priority area in 2007 due to poorer-than-average air quality and a high concentration of pollutants because of the type of industries operating there.
The court papers said air pollution from the industrial facilities had caused between 305 and 650 early deaths in the region in 2016, according to a study commissioned by the Centre for Environmental Rights.