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I remember it as if it was yesterday. It was back in 1996, one Sunday afternoon, me and my new friend, went to visit her grandparents. We arrived on their farm one Sunday afternoon. We greeted everyone, and sat down at the table for coffee.
Her grandfather lit up a cigarette, took a few puffs, blew the kitchen full of smoke and then put it out again. He then began wheezing and coughing profusely. He then took a few breaths of oxygen, from an oxygen machine next to him. I was a bit shocked but just ignored it. We then talked a bit and had a bit of coffee. But then, less than 5 minutes later the whole procedure repeated itself. Light up a cigarette, take a few puffs, profuse wheezing and coughing, then taking some oxygen.
Later on when me and my friend was alone I asked, what is wrong with him. She said he had emphysema.
I was sad to see and hear that. Later on I thought to myself, that is exactly what an addiction is. One knows it is bad for you, but you keep on doing it. You know it will make you sick or even kill you, but you just cannot stop doing it. You are so used to it, it is such a part of your life, that you cannot imaging going without it.
Well, today I think, we are all addicts. We are all addicted to smoking. Each time you start your car’s engine, you burn fuel and fill the air with toxic polluting gasses. Each time you turn on a light or an electrical appliance somewhere a power station is burning coal to generate that electricity, and it pumps into the atmosphere toxic polluting smoke.
We are so addicted to dirty energy that we cannot do without it. Even though we know, that it is making us, and our environment sick. Even though we know, it is bad for us, and our environment, we just cannot stop doing it. It is such a part of our lives, that we cannot imaging going without it.
South Africa has the second dirtiest energy in the world just after India, according to UK department of environment affairs. That is because 90% of our energy is created through burning coal.
For each kWh of electricity that you consume, a certain amount of coal are burned, and pollution are created.
From Eskom annual report of last yer, just in the last year they burned 113 billion tons of coal. This generated the following pollution.
- 1 211 Billion tons of Carbon dioxide (CO2),
- 1 1 766 kilo tons of Sulphur dioxide (SO2),
- 2 782 tons of Nitrous oxide (N2O),
- 885 kilo tons of Nitrogen dioxide (NOx),
So, nitrogen dioxide is a gas that is emitted during the combustion of fossil fuels, this gas can be measured by satellite images.
A new satellite has recently been launched that can analyse the Nitrogen Dioxide pollution in the worlds atmosphere. It reveals the world’s NO2 air pollution hotspots across six continents in the most detail to date, and points the finger at coal and transport as the two principal sources of emissions.
The world’s biggest hotspot over is Mpumalanga in South Africa, home to a cluster of a dozen coal fired power plants owned and operated by Eskom.
Europe’s largest hotspot is found around the Niederaussem coal plant in Germany, followed by the transport emissions hotspot covering London.
Through all the NO2 and other pollutants all notions are pumping into the air 24 hours a day 365 days per year, we managed to change the composition of gasses in our atmosphere. And by changing the composition we have changed our weather patterns. This phenomena we call climate change. And the effects of climate change can be seen on an increasing frequency and severity. Effects like severe droughts, floods, heatwaves, and storms.
So we can all see that our addiction is making us and our environment sick. But still most people are in denial.
They say the first step in recovery for an addict, is to realise and admit he has a problem. If he does not, then he just continues with his addiction and causes greater and greater damage until the day it is too late.
All I ask of you is to do your own research. Search YouTube and google the effects of climate change, the causes of it and decide for yourself.