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The Last Days on Earth

South Africa’s water scarcity could get rapidly worse as water supply contracts are renegotiated and demands escalate due to population growth. Land surfaces degrade due to mining impacts, informal settlements, irrigation and industrial growth. Power generation, whether coal or nuclear, requires a large amount of clean water which is not as readily available as before, mainly due to a decrease in rainfall linked to climate change.
After many years, the impact of mining along the eastern, northern, and north-western rim of Soweto shows its heavy legacy: in the areas once occupied by the mines, the residual water used for the gold extraction is now laced with toxic and radioactive chemicals.
The water may contain high levels of salts, sulphate, manganese, iron, aluminium, cadmium,cobalt, and radioactive elements. Currently millions of litres of neutralised acid mine drainage (AMD) still flow into streams that are connected to the Vaal river and the underground water systems – this water is still unfit for use due to its high salinity. This has devastating consequences for the communities and for the surrounding natural environment: the loss of functionality of the eco-system is so advanced that between heavy costs and an improbable positive outcome, all efforts of an eventual reclamation are jeopardised.
While investigating the severe environmental and social costs of the acid mine drainage, this documentary project revolves around the lives of those impacted by the prolonged exposure to toxic chemical agents in Snake Park, Soweto.

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