Some 13-million people live in Gauteng. Every single one of those people are breathing in air that is toxic, and is shortening their lives.
This is thanks to a mixture of dust blown into the city, exhaust fumes from the nearly five million cars in Gauteng, fires in homes, and pollution from small industries and power plants. All of this results in tiny particles in the air that people suck deep into their lungs. There they lodge and enter the blood vessels, breaking down tissue.
The exact human toll of this has been hard to pin down. The World Health Organization (WHO) says 20 000 South Africans die each year because of air pollution. Eskom has said its pollution leads to 333 deaths a year. Other companies don’t share the effects of their polluting activities. [Source: Mail & Guardian]