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Climate change may trigger a toxic timebomb in South Africa

We meet Mariette Lieferink in a McDonalds near Gauteng, on the edge of Johannesburg, buying a dozen sickly sweet drinks. She’s no one’s idea of a leading environmental activist. She wears a tight-fitting, scarlet, embroidered Chinese dress, high heels, and make-up. She is nearly 60, a mother of four, grandmother of two and she used to be a preacher. Now she is head of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, and works flat out to clean up the massively polluted mining areas of Johannesburg.

Environmental activist Mariette Lieferink near Krugersdorp, where water contamination levels hugely exceed safety standards. Photograph: Thys Dullaart/Oxfam

Climate change, she says, is a potential disaster for Johannesburg and South Africa, liable to trigger the toxic timebomb left by 120 years of mining.

For more on this story, visit: South Africa – where climate change may trigger a toxic timebomb | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

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