Introduction of local Air Quality Management in South Africa: overview and challenges

Posted on 27 Jun 2017

Air quality management have improved on various levels in South Africa. The Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act (APPA) was widely seen as the reason why industrial development caused areas where air pollution is concentrated. APPA was criticized for the lack of control over other impacts on air pollution like emissions, noise, odour, etc. The promulgation of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996), the National Environmental Management Act (1998), and the White Paper on Integrated Pollution and Waste Management for South Africa (2000) necessitated the development and implementation of the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act (2005).

 

Responsibility of Air Quality Management (AQM) was shifted from national government to local authorities. Metropolitan, District and Local municipalities need to work cooperatively with national and provincial authorities in managing air quality.

 

The AQM strategy included the implementation of ambient air quality standards with the aid of tools such as ambient monitoring, emission inventories, and dispersion modelling and emission reduction measures.  Tools aid in developing an Air Quality management Plan (AQMP) required from all levels of authorities. The National Framework for Air Quality Management was developed to assist other levels of authorities in implementing AQM. Air Emissions Licences (AEL) are used by District and Metropolitan municipalities to control emissions, provide review periods, penalties for non-compliance and requirements for renewal.

 

Challenges still present communications and consultation between various spheres of authorities, uncertainty relating to roles and responsibilities, integration of AQM and planning, resource allocation, the role of the public, technical capabilities of authorities in implementing AQM, extending the industrial focus of AQM and AQM and climate change co-management.

 

References:

Naiker, Y., Diab, R.D., Zunckel, M., Hayes, E.T. (2012)