JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, – Hundreds of activists marched in Johannesburg on Saturday urging their government to reduce its share of carbon emissions, ahead of the UN COP21 climate conference in Paris.
“If South Africa, and all other polluting countries, don’t own up to their fair share of climate responsibility, the serious climate impacts being experienced will only intensify,” Makoma Lekalakala senior program officer with Earthlife Africa told Anadolu Agency Saturday.
She said protesters were demanding the country’s electricity supplier Eskom, to stop its ‘‘dangerous addiction’’ of using coal-fired electricity plants because they affected both the environment and human health.
“We are demanding our government to use clean, affordable and sustainable energy sources,” she added.
South Africa depends on coal to produce nearly 90 percent of its electricity.The environmental activist further said that numerous people in Mpumalanga province, where most coal mines are located ,have fallen sick due to the excessive coal mining in the area.According to media reports, scientists have found elevated carbon dioxide emissions, and sulphur dioxide in the air, around coal mines in Mpumalanga. Scientists also found heavy metals in the soil and acidic groundwater.