Posted on: August 27, 2008 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

South Africa. The deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Rejoice Mabudafhasi launched a second batch of ambient air quality monitoring stations in the Highveld priority area on Tuesday.

In November 2007, Highveld priority area was declared a national air pollution hot spot.

The area, which comprised 31 106 km2 and extended from the eastern parts of Gauteng to Middelburg in the Mpumalanga province and to the edge of the escarpment in the south and east, is plagued by low-hanging smoke in the winter months resulting in poor air quality and health risks.

In an effort to help mitigate the pollution, DEAT and the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs, had procured a number of ambient air quality monitoring stations at a cost of R1-million each, that would measure a number of pollutants, including sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, benzene, lead and carbon monoxide, among others.

The monitoring stations will help to identify the pollutants as well as the specific areas where the pollution came from. The DEAT can then identify any specific companies that could have caused the pollution, issue a report to them agree with the polluters on a plan of action to rectify the problems.

The data collected by the stations would then be made available to the public and to stakeholder forums, such as the Air Quality Officers Forum (AQOF) and the Mutli-Stakeholder Reference Group (MSRG).

The network of monitoring stations would provide baseline data and information, and would be operated continuously to provide a record of ambient air quality before and after a proposed Air Quality Management Plan was implemented.

The network would also be able to indicate the effectiveness of interventions implemented by stakeholders.

The DEAT noted that residential coal burning and veld fires also contributed to the pollution in the Highveld area.

Source: Engineering News

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