In an effort to identify and tackle harmful emissions the Ekurhuleni Municipality has deployed continuous ambient air quality monitoring systems across the city.

Following a feasibility study that identified areas with high concentrations of air pollution the municipality strategically placed 10 stations across the city from Bedfordview to Tembisa.

Legal obligation

The stations will assess ambient air pollutant concentrations and the information produced from the systems will be used to determine their impact on the environment, as well as the health impact on the community.

Ekurhuleni’s Air Quality Practitioner (AQP) Bobby Marilli says the City has a legal obligation to monitor ambient air in terms of National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act No 39 of 2004.

“The most harmful kind of air pollution is the ones we can’t see with the naked eye. Air pollution occurs if there is a change in the composition of the ambient air caused by smoke, dust, gases, fumes, aerosols and odorous substances which are harmful to the environment,” he says.

Burning of waste an issues

Marilli notes that the burning of waste is a major issue as the most dangerous emissions can be caused by burning rubble. “When waste is burnt, harmful quantities of dioxins, a group of highly toxic chemicals, are emitted. Dioxins are the most toxic pollutant to human organisms,” he adds.

Furthermore Marilli notes that where industries are identified as sources of air pollution, they will be visited by practitioners to evaluate compliance with the Air Quality Standards which prescribe the acceptable level of pollutants that cannot be exceeded during a given time in a defined area.

As an industrial hub Ekurhuleni is susceptible to issues with air quality.