SA is home to one of the most polluted places on earth

SA is home to one of the most polluted places on earth

Just a few kilometres outside of Johannesburg lies one of the most polluted places on earth...

Air pollution AFP

Like most countries, South Africa has its fair share of troubles, but despite the country's issues, it is really our diverse culture, extraordinary wild animals, beautiful scenery and overall wildlife that have made our country famous.

As a developing country with vast animal and plant life, the last thing you would expect to hear is that one of the most polluted places on earth is right here.

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Just 48 kilometres outside Johannesburg lies the Vaal Triangle, which, according to Business Tech, has some of the most dangerous pollution on earth.

This region, which includes Vanderbijlpark, Vereeniging, and Sasolburg, has about 1.7 million residents.

In Vanderbijlpark, smoke envelops Africa's biggest steel mill. Near Vereeniging, the Lethabo coal power plant, which ironically translates to "happiness", releases ash and toxic sulfur dioxide into the air.

And, of course, Sasolburg hosts a petrochemical plant.

Business Tech reports that the level of harmful emissions in the area is so high that Vereeniging is, by some measures, the most polluted city in the world.

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"Vereeniging regularly registers the highest concentration of microscopic emissions known as PM2.5, according to Bloomberg Green analysis of data from nonprofit OpenAQ, which runs an open-source network of over 4,000 sensors monitoring particulate pollution worldwide."

Invisible particles from pollution travel deep into the lungs, which can lead to cancers and cardiac problems.

Many already suffer from respiratory disease, and hundreds die premature deaths every year.

Although this has been on the South African government’s radar, the difficulty in change lies in the fact that these plants offer steady jobs to many residents.

A green transition could be difficult if it "costs the livelihood of the workers who depend on old economy jobs."

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Image: AFP


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