Posted on: March 7, 2011 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Chemicals manufacturers have reduced their combined impacts on air, water, and energy consumption, by a rigorous programme of incident and effluent reporting.

Chemicals and Allied Industries Association (CAIA) chairperson Joaquin Schoch and executive director, Dr Laurraine Lotter, told SHEQafrica.com at a launch of the Responsible Care 2010 annual report in Johannesburg, that CAIA and RC data for the last five years, since 2005, show a general reduction in environmental impacts.

Air impacts

Air emissions of SA chemicals operators have dramatically reduced since 2005, notable sulphur dioxide (SO2) from 900 tonnes per million tonnes of product in 2005, to 200t/t-m in 2009.

NOx emissions have been nearly eliminated, at 3t/t-m, from a high of 160t/t-m in 2006. CO2 emissions are down to 50t/t-m, from a previous high of 100t/y-m in 2007. Chemicals carbon footprint has to remain low to retain product export status.

Water impacts

Chemical oxygen demand (COD) indicates organic load discharge in liquid effluent into surface water. SA chemicals effluent COD is down to 0.16t/t-m, from 65.4t/t-m in 2005.

The reduction is due to one CAIA member resigning due to takeover by an international company, and closure of operation by another member. Both involved a significant effluent discharge to sea.

Water use reduction, cleaner production, and recycling, brought a reduction in water usage from 2.67 Kl per tonne of product in 2005, to 2.08Kl/t in 2009.

SA chemicals manufacturers produce 2.2-million tonnes of waste, including 321 000 tonnes of hazardous waste.

Energy demand

Energy intensity of chemicals production, based on electricity use, has reduced significantly in recent years. Energy efficiency has improved by 25% since data reporting by Responsible Care signatories began in 2005.

RC Management Practice Standards reporting include pollution prevention, resource efficiency, and product stewardship.

RC signatories environmental activities include;
69% operate community advisory committees
96% have a complaints procedure
98% have emergency response plans
72% run a waste management programme

Reportable spillage threshold

Chemicals spillages during road transport remained a weak point in environmental protection. Combined road, rail and pipeline transport incident rates per 100 000 tonnes, set at a threshold of spillage of 200kg of hazardous material, or 1 tonne of non hazardous material, emergency response, public disruption, or media reporting, hovered around 0.6 in 2008 and 2009, for in house and contracted hauliers.

Road loss incidents totalled 146 in 2009, with rail at three, and pipelines at four incidents. Hauliers are required to be Responsible Care signatories, while only 27 were RC signatories at the start of 2010.

Hauliers are also required to comply with a Safety and Quality Assessment System (SQAS), developed by CEFIC for the European Union, modified to SA conditions and legislation.

By the start of 2010, 123 hauliers had been audited, with 95 attaining preferred supplier status, and 28 accorded provisional supplier status.

CAIA, and figures in the RC report, represent 179 chemicals companies, including 58 manufacturers, accounting for 90% of chemicals production in South Africa. The 2009 report reflects data supplied by 93% of signatories.

Haz spillage management

Safripol commented that a zero loss incident rate was possible, citing its own achievement of zero reportable incidents in 2009 and year to date in 2010. Safripol has 30 years of HSE data and applies a continuous improvement approach.

Sasol commented that it continued to work at reducing incidents, and required all industry players, including suppliers, clients, state facilities operators, and government authorities, to commit to assisting operators in reducing loss incidents.

N3 highway toll concession, NTC, commented that Responsible Care signatories transporters and contract hauliers who are RC signatories, suffered fewer incidents, and responded to their incidents more effectively than non signatories. ‘It is a pleasure to work with CAIA and RC members on the N3 highway”, said a highway official.

N3 highway toll operators trained relevant Gauteng, Free State and Kwazulu-Natal traffic officers for six days at Harrismith, on how to check freight vehicles, loads, signage and documents for legal compliance.

No transporters were found to be fully compliant, but only serious transgressors were taken off the road during the training exercise.

The RC Report 2010 is available via rcare2@caia.co.za

PHOTO; Chemicals and Allied Industries Association (CAIA) chairperson Joaquin Schoch.

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