What’s that smell? The legacy of polluted air floating into Gauteng

WeatherSA has announced that Gauteng residents may have to endure a stench in the air till the weekend. This is due to strong winds blowing in from Mpumalanga. 

The City of Johannesburg is currently investigating the cause of the smell, which is very similar to a smell that blanketed Gauteng early in 2021. 

The department of environment, forestry and fisheries said that was due to elevated levels of sulphur dioxide from the Sasol plant in Mpumalanga.

The Mail & Guardian reported in 2018 that Mpumalanga has the highest levels of air pollution in the world, topping nitrogen dioxide levels across six continents. 

Pollution levels have only increased since 2018 in the province due to South Africa’s heavy reliance on coal-fired power generation. 

We take a look back at what has contributed to this stench that has arrived in Gauteng.

We make it make sense

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Eyaaz Matwadia
Eyaaz Matwadia
Eyaaz Matwadia is a member of the Mail & Guardian's online team.

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