SA halts doubling of sulfur dioxide emission limits

South Africa’s government won’t implement a plan to double the amount of sulfur dioxide companies such as Eskom and Sasol can emit from coal-fired power plants and boilers until it has complied with a requirement to allow for public consultation.

The decision comes after groundWork, an environmental non-governmental organisation, filed a legal challenge to the plan saying that the environment ministry had broken the law by not allowing for public consultation. groundWork, while welcoming the decision, will oppose the implementation of any increase in emission limits, the Centre for Environmental Rights, a group of lawyers representing the NGO, said in a statement.

The proposed limit of 1 000 milligrams of the pollutant per normal cubic meter is significantly more lax than standards in China and India, according to groundWork. The group said sulfur dioxide leads to increased incidences of low birth weights and still births and contributes to acid rain.