Poor ‘choking to death’ on pollution

Comment on this story


SS air pollution

SUPPLIED

MURKY: Air and solid waste pollution is still a problem to be dealt with especially around certain parts of the city of Joburg. Picture: Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development

Johannesburg - They may be thousands of kilometres apart, but for Dr Rebecca Garland, the toxic brown haze that blankets Joburg’s townships in winter isn’t that far removed from the smog-filled scenes in Beijing that sent its pollution monitors skyrocketing last month.

“We’ve all driven to Soweto on a winter’s day and seen that smoky haze,” explains Garland, who worked in Beijing to help regulate the city’s air pollution prior to the 2008 Olympics.

“We don’t have the same air pollution index as China, but I wouldn’t be surprised if similar values (to Beijing) were found in our townships in the middle of winter.”

Fine particulate matter (PM) are particles found in the air – including dust, dirt, soot, smoke and liquid droplets of PM2.5 and PM10 (particles smaller than 2.5 microns and 10 microns, respectively) in aerodynamic diameter. This particulate matter is most likely to cause respiratory conditions, cardiovascular problems and early death.

In Beijing last month, pollution levels exceeded 300ug/m3 – deemed by the World Health Organisation to be hazardous – and even surpassed 700ug/m3 – described as an “airpocolypse”.

South Africa’s 2012 State of Air Report and National Air Quality Indicator has shown how townships like Diepsloot, Alexandra and Ivory Park, where residents burn coal to cook and heat their homes, continue to exceed PM10 annual averages. In Diepsloot and Ivory Park, the report shows how this surpasses 250ug/m3 every year.

This week, Garland, now based at the climate studies, modelling and environmental health research unit at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, brought some of SA’s foremost air pollution scientists together to understand how better to manage SA’s dirty air. More needs to be done, she says, to understand rural pollution and its impacts.

Prof Stuart Piketh, of the school of physical and chemical sciences at North West University, told the conference, millions of mainly impoverished South Africans living in townships and informal settlements were “choking to death” from fine particulates and high sulphur concentrations.

“The most important challenge in SA is… the household burning of coal and wood… But what are we doing to make it better? Not enough. We need to move from monitoring what we know is a challenge to coming up with strategies to manage the challenge.

“We’ve been measuring in many of these places for almost 10 years now, and we’re still measuring. We need to move towards a strategy to resolve how we’re going to reduce emissions.

“There’s a fixation on compliance monitoring. We’ve set ambient air quality standards and we’re monitoring like mad to see whether we now comply with those standards, but unless we do something about the results…” He shrugged.

Piketh believes the domestic burning of fuel is poorly understood. “In the projects that have been rolled out, one sees people move back to what they’re comfortable with very quickly, irrespective of whether they’ve got access to the alternative.”

Government-fuelled campaigns like Basa Njengo Magogo – an alternative low-smoke fire-lighting method believed to improve air quality and the respiratory hazards associated with indoor air pollution – are “insignificant”. “I don’t think any of those projects have shown that if you roll it out on a massive scale, it would make a significant contribution, and I’m not sure if there’s been enough follow-up to see if those projects are sustainable. The real answer is probably electrification with some sort of programme to ensure people don’t go back to coal.”

The state of air report highlights how PM10 is still the “greatest national cause for concern” and warns that “it’s clear that many South Africans may not be breathing air that is not harmful to their health and well-being”.

But it also shows how PM10 concentrations have dropped within the annual standard in Cape Town and eThekwini in the past seven years. “The success story is Durban, and that was the first air priority area,” says Piketh.

“Certainly the efforts made to reduce the emissions have had tangible results. I don’t think we’ve had the same success in the other priority areas yet – and that’s because of implementation.”

Thabo Setshedi, assistant director of air quality at the Department of Environmental Affairs, says strides are being made to expand the national air quality monitoring network.

“We’re not winning in the townships – we’re still facing serious problems in Alexandra and Diepsloot with household burning, and I’m not happy with the progress in Vaal and Highveld priority areas where there’s a lot of non-compliance. But Durban and Ethekwini are a success and that’s encouraging.” - Saturday Star

Hungry for more scitech news? Sign up for our daily newsletter


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Newspaper Subscriptions
Viv42
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 55.
View Profile
LuckyCharm_440
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
Sugababe
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 42.
View Profile
Juliet8
I'm a 50 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 65.
View Profile
Graciousheart
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 44 and 56.
View Profile
AmaJ
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 42 and 50.
View Profile
Gem31
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Lady66
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 47 and 55.
View Profile
Poppielap007
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 29.
View Profile
Stella143
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 45.
View Profile
KissFromARose
I'm a 58 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 55 and 64.
View Profile
PhoenixLin
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 42.
View Profile
Grace62
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 42.
View Profile
DelightfullyTipsy
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 38.
View Profile
MustLoveDogz
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 43.
View Profile
Ldp123
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 44 and 58.
View Profile
Isolabelle
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Sosialemeis2
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 46.
View Profile
Bella_11
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Boulderhopper
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 50.
View Profile
Lizzzzz
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
00butterflygirl00
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 36.
View Profile
blom788
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
FancyFace32
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 58.
View Profile
JustLooking69
I'm a 56 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
AngelBabe1
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 39.
View Profile
AMy_303
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
lovely00
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 39 and 67.
View Profile
Athena
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
Verlore13
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 32.
View Profile
dreamsoftly
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 47 and 58.
View Profile
Belind4_M
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 19 and 30.
View Profile
Chanex
I'm a 20 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 26.
View Profile
_Alwayssmiling
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 41.
View Profile
Kosmos075
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
voelkos
I'm a 54 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 56.
View Profile
HoopvolleToekoms
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 39.
View Profile
stofvoetjie
I'm a 18 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 25.
View Profile
CC82
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
veldmuis007
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
butterflykisses14
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 51.
View Profile
This_is_m3
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 50.
View Profile
ddb65
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 62.
View Profile
Jasmayn
I'm a 56 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
Pretty_Nerd
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 37.
View Profile
Bubblegumskunk
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 43.
View Profile
Comet43
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 54.
View Profile
Groenoognooi_46
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 44 and 52.
View Profile
Diena_van_die_Eike
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 49 and 62.
View Profile
Dreamer1987
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Wonderer_0202
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 52.
View Profile
Ja9
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 26 and 36.
View Profile
Gem24
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
itu22
I'm a 22 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 37.
View Profile
Lvit2C
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 39.
View Profile
kim2702
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 50.
View Profile
chicky582
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 30.
View Profile
ioio
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
SKY248
I'm a 52 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 44 and 52.
View Profile
lookingsexy200
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 45.
View Profile
ContagiousLaughter
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 44.
View Profile
Fordfiest1
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
spangled_sparrow
I'm a 50 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
OneWay
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 47.
View Profile
Believer001
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 40.
View Profile
KiTella
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 42.
View Profile
blondgirl
I'm a 57 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 53 and 60.
View Profile
iamclassy
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 62.
View Profile
Sparkie92
I'm a 22 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 29.
View Profile
DaffodilTulip
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
thrillsandfrills
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 41 and 45.
View Profile
Bizkit2808
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
noirsette
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
lenQ313
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 28.
View Profile
Mianli
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 45.
View Profile
love_passionately
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
KarooBoereMeisie
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
supe24
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 65.
View Profile
LOVINGLIFE417
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 43 and 50.
View Profile
mystiqueZN
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 45.
View Profile
AM1234
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 46.
View Profile
GWTFT
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 48.
View Profile
bluemon
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
HottFoxx
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
Charms1203
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
MonaLisa100
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Tamtam31
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
AGX
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 44.
View Profile
Lulu_101
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
J_Bean
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
brokenheart2_cnb
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Smarag
I'm a 20 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 30.
View Profile
Elyn1980
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 42.
View Profile
Kwarenina
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 42 and 52.
View Profile
Natz79
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
SkyLark67
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
TLCfree2bmex3
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 39.
View Profile
Lemoenbloeisel
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 42.
View Profile
Stiletto1
I'm a 53 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 47 and 57.
View Profile
MrJay
I'm a 31 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 36.
View Profile
Belligerent69
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 44.
View Profile
Boereman
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 52.
View Profile
maybe_111
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 23 and 39.
View Profile
letslook
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
drurie
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 60 and 66.
View Profile
bellagio
I'm a 69 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
Fairtalk101
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Stressfree
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 52.
View Profile
rio77
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
Rumrun
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 44 and 56.
View Profile
TheRealPeterPan
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
koolstoof55
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 63.
View Profile
GenuineJ
I'm a 64 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 64.
View Profile
saks001
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 47 and 59.
View Profile
Stream_Net
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 33.
View Profile
Ben_57
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 55.
View Profile
NAS3000
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 43 and 53.
View Profile
Double_N
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 50.
View Profile
cornrlius205
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 50.
View Profile
peyton515
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 36 and 46.
View Profile
Glorious_Quest
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 32 and 45.
View Profile
LEO1982
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 40.
View Profile
BobTheExtremeBuilder
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 47.
View Profile
Geard1977
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 27 and 38.
View Profile
OldGoat4400
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 48.
View Profile
DJStarglance
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
WieEnWaar
I'm a 63 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 62.
View Profile
MAX_33
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 33 and 53.
View Profile
Btt76
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 42.
View Profile
Espavo
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 48.
View Profile
JONGKEREL
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 55.
View Profile
TheDuke_99
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 42.
View Profile
Travelbug_222
I'm a 76 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
Bushbaby210
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 21 and 35.
View Profile
Gster1
I'm a 64 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
virgo5
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 65.
View Profile
arew
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 55.
View Profile
Free_Spirited
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 32 and 42.
View Profile
matiekat
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
CapeLover
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 50.
View Profile
oth1982
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
annns
I'm a 51 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 56.
View Profile
QuietDreamer
I'm a 34 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
skyandsand
I'm a 31 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Carden
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 30.
View Profile
B_B_B
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 45.
View Profile
Romanticseb
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 57.
View Profile
ch_nb
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 45.
View Profile
marcj4u
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 50.
View Profile
Jurgy62
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 37 and 55.
View Profile
big_guy_soft_heart
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
Summerstorm_007
I'm a 60 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 58.
View Profile
tigercat
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 22 and 54.
View Profile
MF__802
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 40.
View Profile
JustJve99
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 45.
View Profile
umustbsomewhere
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
cloudhopper
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
oldschool_romantic
I'm a 26 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 19 and 31.
View Profile
Holomig
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 36.
View Profile
WagOngeduldig
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Woody777
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
earthwormjim1968
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 48.
View Profile
MOOLMAN
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 62.
View Profile
AJK1110
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 55.
View Profile
Deipnosophist
I'm a 40 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Marley77
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
Rich_H
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 48.
View Profile
LoveFriendFirst123
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 72.
View Profile
Rebelinbluejeans
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 62.
View Profile
niemandsland
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 45.
View Profile
DoctorSpin
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
waitingforgodot
I'm a 68 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 53 and 60.
View Profile
Soulsearcher72
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Yinyani
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 55.
View Profile
boersoekvrou14
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
srchinluv
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 46 and 65.
View Profile
TheRisingSun
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
Kenfisha123
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
IceDad66
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
50pluslooking
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
honeybush_ht
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
gentlebutcrazy
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
Apalis23
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 39 and 48.
View Profile
Breukes
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 26 and 35.
View Profile
philip_unplugged514
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 65.
View Profile
Lifechanger_7
I'm a 25 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
Jazdaboss
I'm a 26 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Kent123
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
LiveLifeAlways
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 33 and 41.
View Profile
deeptime
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 58.
View Profile
sailor_X897
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 60.
View Profile
happymaker66
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Rick1508
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 49.
View Profile
rossi46
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
Pete_1
I'm a 70 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
WanderingShadow
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 40.
View Profile
Liefasb
I'm a 63 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile