A Greenpeace Africa activist takes part in a protest at Eskom's head office in Midrand. Photo: @Greenpeaceafric/Twitter.

Johannesburg - A day after the release of a Greenpeace study fingering South Africa as the world's second-largest second-worst hotspot for sulphur dioxide (SO2), Greenpeace Africa staged a protest at Eskom calling for action from the utility. 

On Monday, a study commissioned by Greenpeace India found that the town of Kriel, in Mpumalanga, was the second-largest sulphur dioxide emissions (SO2) hotspot in the world after the Norilsk smelter complex in Russia.

The report cited Mpumalanga as the largest SO2 pollution hotspot in Africa with the cluster of mega power plants in Nkangala, including Duvha (3 600MW), Kendal (4 000MW) and Kriel (3 000MW) coal power stations producing mega anthropogenic SO2 emissions between 2017 and 2018.

Following the release of the report, activists descended upon the power utility's Megawatt offices on Tuesday with hospital gear in tow to express their outcry over the report and the impact air pollution has on civilians.

Police are still on the scene at @EskomSA’s head office where our activists are making it clear that the #Airpocalypse is here and that @BarbaraCreecy_ can STOP it by not renewing @EskomSA’s licence to kill. Stand with them >> https://t.co/QZrganUrSD #EndCoal pic.twitter.com/C3rGTL8VMy

— Greenpeace Africa (@Greenpeaceafric) August 20, 2019

Some activists lay in hospital beds while others donned oxygen masks to demonstrate Eskom's "licence to kill". 

Speaking of Tuesday's protest was Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager at Greenpeace Africa Melita Steele, who spoke on the importance of marching on Eskom's offices. 

Police are still on the scene at @EskomSA’s head office where our activists are making it clear that the #Airpocalypse is here and that @BarbaraCreecy_ can STOP it by not renewing @EskomSA’s licence to kill. Stand with them >> https://t.co/QZrganUrSD #EndCoal pic.twitter.com/C3rGTL8VMy

— Greenpeace Africa (@Greenpeaceafric) August 20, 2019
"We believe the air pollution in South Africa is actually a crisis and that people are paying the price for air pollution, specifically Eskom's air pollution, with their health but also sometimes with their lives.

"We also listed the kinds of diseases that are an outcome or air pollution at our protest today and it's a very scary list including: lower respiratory infections, exacerbated asthma, increased risk of stroke, breathing difficulties [and] all the way up to lung cancer."

Steele said Greenpeace Africa, in staging the protest, wanted Eskom to comply with the minimum emissions standard, a request Eskom reportedly said it would be unable to comply with as it's too expensive.

She added that Greenpeace Africa had also appealed to the Minister of Environmental Affairs Barbara Creecy and  National Air Quality Officer on the matter and would continue doing so in an effort to get clean air for all South Africans.

The organisation handed over a copy of the report to Eskom Senior General Manager  Andrew Etzinger before dispersing.

IOL