One of Johannesburg’s mine dumps blows toxic and radioactive dust across the impoverished settlement of SnakePark. The air is thick with yellow dust that contains high levels of uranium and a cocktail of heavy metals like lead,mercury, arsenic, cadmium and chrome. This apartheid legacy of South African gold mining plays out in birthdefects such as…
Smokestacks dominate. The Matimba and Medupi power stations lord over shacks, farms, houses, schools, busy churches, emptying shops and gun stores arming a vast hunting industry. There’s a McDonald’s. And, underneath the carbon dioxide plume, the coal town of Lephalale roils in anger, racism, corruption and fading hope. South Africa, National Geographic Project, 2019.