What is Air? Is it the Air that we are breathing or the polluted Air that we are facing in Witbank or so called ’Emalahleni?’  Or Mpumalanga. The issue is that we are dependent on these mines or power stations and compromising our lives and future. Every time we switch shifts in working we forget that we are the impacts of air pollution in Witbank.

Witbank TB Hospital is situated near the most polluting industry Ferro Metals that keeps emitting deadly emissions such as CO2, SO2 and others. The moment we as community keep breathing these emissions that all the mines in Witbank are emitting we are mostly affected by Asthma, Cancer, TB or cataracts and others. The working community members getting paid the money or capital that they work for are afraid to take stand because their families are depending on them. They let aside that while their families are underground they inhale dangerous emissions such as PM10 or PM25 limiting their life span. These activities will never stop emissions unless the Department lets unwrap this, we as the youth are blinded or attracted by the glittering of all the swagger and cars we ignore our life is more important than all these things.

In South Africa we have Air Quality Act (Act no.38 of 2004), but it seems like it doesn’t exist because Witbank is the House of Air pollution since it was declared High Priority area in 2007 November 23. We have been cursed in, by having coal in Witbank since we have more than 6 abandoned combusting mines with continuous emitting these gases. The Nation needs energy for keeping life so simple but not in the expense of contaminating our Air that we need for living and generations to come.

Tshepo Vilane