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What it’s like to live in the most polluted place on Earth

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

Illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Bloomberg or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: In the Vaal Triangle, South Africa, industrial pollution is so severe that the town of Vereeniging has some of the highest levels of harmful particulate emissions globally
• This area, just 30 miles from Johannesburg, is home to major industrial sites including Africa's biggest steel mill, a coal power plant, and a petrochemicals plant, all contributing to the hazardous air quality affecting 1.7 million residents

🔭 The context: The region's historical reliance on coal and heavy industry has led to significant economic development but at a high environmental and health cost
• Despite being designated as a priority area for air quality improvement, efforts have been hampered by exemptions granted to industries and a lack of enforcement, resulting in minimal improvements in air quality

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The situation in the Vaal Triangle exemplifies the global challenge of balancing industrial development with environmental sustainability and health
• It highlights the urgent need for a transition to cleaner energy sources and stricter enforcement of environmental regulations to protect human health and the planet

⏭️ What's next: With new emission limits set to take effect in 2025, there's pressure on companies to comply and reduce pollution
• The government's and international efforts to transition away from coal and towards renewable energy sources may offer hope for cleaner air and a healthier environment in the future

💬 One quote: "The doctor told me if I want to get healed, I must move from here, go to maybe where there’s no pollution," said Portia Mofokeng, a resident suffering from asthma due to the pollution.

📈 One stat: A study attributed 204 premature deaths a year to just one of the power plants in the region, highlighting the deadly impact of industrial pollution.

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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