Air Pollution in Pietermaritzburg: History – Past to Present twenty-four hours:
Air pollution in Pietermaritzburg is non a new job. There are over two-hundred newspaper articles in the ‘Witness Newspaper Archives ‘ , dating back from the 1980s to present twenty-four hours, describing on this issue. Old and current exposure of the metropolis frequently show smog ‘hanging ‘ over Pietermaritzburg. In the yesteryear, air pollution was caused chiefly by cooking fires. However, today ‘s pollution has the added toxicity of semisynthetic pollution from mills and motor vehicles ( Banfield, 1992 ) . ‘Twenty per centum of Pietermaritzburg occupants are affected by air pollution compared to five per centum elsewhere in South Africa ‘ ( Banfield, 1992 ) . Pietermaritzburg ‘s air is monitored by the Msunduzi Municipality, which has recorded that the metropolis ‘s air contains the undermentioned pollutants: particulate affair, sulfur dioxide, N ( oxides ) , ozone, C monoxide and many other harmful gases ( Anthony, Nov 2007 and June 2007 ) .
Figure 1: Showing the smog formation over Pietermaritzburg: ( The Witness Newspaper, 28 June 2008 )
( Wilson, 2008 )
Location of Pietermaritzburg:
Pietermaritzburg, owing to bad town planning, has all of its chief industry and landfill site in the metropolis ‘s ‘bowl ‘ . This has resulted in a deterioration of air pollution. The N3 main road tallies straight through the bosom of Pietermaritzburg, as the figure of big trucks and vehicles addition, so make the emanations from these vehicles. The lumber plantations on the escarpment of the metropolis ‘s basin and sugar plantations on the brows, add to the pollution in Pietermaritzburg as these plantations need to be burnt as everyday agriculture pattern. ( Anthony, Nov 2007 and June 2007 )
Pietermaritzburg ‘s geographical place – in a vale – causes a temperature inversion to happen. A temperature inversion is non a normal phenomenon, it merely occurs in a vale ( such as Pietermaritzburg ) and the consequence is worsened in winter. The cold air sinks down the sides of the vale and remains on the base of the vale – hoar may organize here. The warm air ( along with pollutants ) so rises and stops half manner up the vale incline to organize a ‘thermal belt ‘ . This belt traps pollutants and enhances their bad belongingss and negative wellness impacts, as the pollutants are non able to get away – and they remain over the metropolis and cause wellness risky smog to organize.
The diagrams below show the consequence of the Temperature Inversion in Pietermaritzburg:
( Sherriffs, 1989 )
Major Subscribers of Air Pollution:
The major subscribers of air pollution in Pietermaritzburg are: emanations from industry, motor vehicles, fires at the landfill site and the combustion of lumber plantations and sugar cane plantations ( Anthony, Nov 2007 and June 2007 ) . Major industry, such as FFS Refiners, is guilty of adding to the pollution job of Pietermaritzburg ‘s air.
Below are two graphs demoing two of the major pollutants specific to the triping and badness of asthma:
Figure 2: Graph demoing the day-to-day norms and acceptable degree ( in red ) of Particulate Matter ( air pollution ) in Pietermaritzburg ‘s air
( Anthony, Nov 2007 and June 2007 )
Figure 3: Graph demoing the day-to-day norms and acceptable degree ( in red ) of Carbon Monoxide ( air pollution ) in Pietermaritzburg ‘s air
( Anthony, Nov 2007 and June 2007 )
In both graphs pollutants exceed the acceptable national pollution guidelines ( highlighted in ruddy ) in the months of June and July ( winter months ) – this is owing to the temperature inversion which worsens the pollution job.
Asthma is a chronic wellness status, which causes redness and narrowing of the lung ‘s air passages, which causes trouble in take a breathing for the patient – and the patient may develop a prohibitionist, reedy cough. Pollutants cause the limitation of the air passages, as the pollution particles aggravate the air passages of the lungs.
Dr R.Gilbert, a general practician in Pietermaritzburg with an involvement in asthma, states that the figure of asthma patients that he treats is much higher than one would anticipate to happen in a town the size of Pietermaritzburg. Dr Gilbert mentioned that Dr W.Robates, an ENT specializer, and Dr A.F.Jooma, a paediatrician, supported his positions that the air pollution in Pietermaritzburg is a really existent job, which, without uncertainty, has a important consequence on the control and badness of asthma.
He besides states that many of his patients who leave Pietermaritzburg for important lengths of clip and so return – frequently do non endure from their asthma status while out of the metropolis. However, on returning, their allergic reactions and asthma symptoms reoccur ( Gilbert, 2010, Robates, 2010 and Jooma, 2010 ) .
In a telephonic interview with Umbalica Balrashie, the regional gross revenues director for Glaxo Smith Kline, a taking pharmaceutical company which promotes asthma merchandises, information was provided observing that the three highest gross revenues countries for asthma medicine in Kwa-Zulu Natal are Richards Bay, Durban South and Pietermaritzburg. Both Richards Bay and Durban South are extremely industrialized countries with important air pollution emanations, when compared to Pietermaritzburg – but owing to Pietermaritzburg ‘s temperature inversion, the pollutants are intensified and hence, the triggering and badness of asthma onslaughts in Pietermaritzburg are equal to these two industrialised countries ( Balrashie, 2010 ) .
Community Views and Issues:
Many occupants in Pietermaritzburg have complained about the issue of air pollution in the metropolis. In the twelvemonth 1993, Pietermaritzburg occupants spent about R1,5 million on asthma medicine, saying that the ‘city ‘s pollution has significantly contributed to these costs ‘ ( Quinlain, 1993 ) . There have been many instances reported of households traveling to Pietermaritzburg, and developing asthma or enduring from declining bing asthma conditions, merely owing to the exposure and strength of the metropolis ‘s air pollution, which is enhanced and worsened by the temperature inversion.
Residents in Pietermaritzburg have complained continuously about the province of the metropolis ‘s air. However, the Msunduzi Municipality have done small about the pollution degrees, as these degrees of emanations are under the recognized and legal degrees during most of the twelvemonth. What the municipality has failed to advance to National Government is the fact that Pietermaritzburg is situated in a vale – which causes a temperature inversion, finally declining the degrees of pollutants hanging above the metropolis ( in smog ) . This consequences in the pollutants being trapped over Pietermaritzburg.
Industry and the Local Government ‘s Function:
Industry is responsible for the end product of toxic emanations, which need to be monitored.
Local Government demand to take a more rigorous and committed stance in relation to industry emanation degrees.
The authorities needs to make consciousness about air pollution and its negative wellness effects. Car emanations are great subscribers to wellness jobs ( such as asthma ) . Pollution warning systems have been taught to the populace in the United Kingdom ( UK ) by the authorities. South Africa needs to make the same ( Hutton, 2010 ) . The South African authorities has late ( March 2010 ) invested in a new ‘air quality monitoring system ‘ ( O’Donnell, 2010 ) , which monitors the sum of pollutants in the air and the quality of air ( whether good or bad ) . ‘The major countries of concern that need air-quality appraisal and monitoring include transit countries such as main road paths and chief roads, urban countries, municipalities and local community exposure. ‘ ( O’Donnell, 2010 ) – this suggests that Pietermaritzburg should be monitored closely along the chief main road through the metropolis and where industry is situated.
However, for this to be successful, the local authorities demands to keep the monitoring system and it costs a batch of money. This care of the monitoring system needs to be put into South Africa ‘s annual budget for the municipalities. National authorities demands to invariably measure the ‘problematic pollution ‘ metropoliss, such as Pietermaritzburg. This monitoring system should demo betterment in the air. If non, the authorities can determine from the monitoring system which pollutants are most prevailing and where they are being emitted from. National authorities, together with Local authorities, could so work on schemes to take down the toxic emanations which finally cause wellness jobs.
N3 Highway –
The N3 main road is a job as heavy responsibility trucks create immense emanations. The railwaies should be reintroduced to transport containers from Durban Harbour to Johannesburg. This would dramatically cut down the figure of large trucks on the main road and as they frequently travel in the early hours of the forenoon, air pollution would be reduced as the temperature inversion is most important in the early hours of the forenoon.
Local Government demands to work with industry in Pietermaritzburg to better the sum of emanations that factories produce. As discussed, in an interview with Mr J.Pather, the Head of Environmental Health Services at Msunduzi Municipality, industry have complied in many cases to cut down emanations. From information supplied by Mr C.J.Anthony, Pollution Control Coordinator at Msunduzi Municipality, many specific air pollution issues have been dealt with. For illustration, Grey ‘s infirmary ‘s oil furnace has been replaced with paraffin ( Anthony, Nov 2007 and June 2007 ) . No farther industry should be built in the metropolis ‘s bowl, this will incorporate the present air pollution.
Pietermaritzburg ‘s New England Landfill Site –
The New England Landfill Site needs to be moved out of the metropolis ‘s bowl. The particulate autumn out is unacceptable and because of the temperature inversion, the pollution emanations are worsened. The municipality has attempted to better conditions but the fact is that the landfill site demands to be moved elsewhere.
There are rigorous ordinances refering the combustion of woods and sugar cane. These demand to be monitored and implemented to forestall fire emanations in the incorrect seasons.
National Government needs to work closely with Local Government and supply financess which will let the municipality to upgrade and keep air pollution monitoring equipment.
Msunduzi Municipality is in a crisis. The control of air pollution is a low precedence at nowadays.
It would be a immense disbursal to repair railwaies and to travel the Landfill Site.
Pietermaritzburg lacks both financess and accomplishments to drive the construct of ‘clean air ‘ .
Pietermaritzburg is surrounded by lumber plantations and sugar cane farms. This can non be changed.
It is scientifically proved that air pollution triggers and increases the badness of asthma onslaughts. The nexus between air pollution and asthma is an recognized fact by specializers throughout the universe. ‘In recent old ages scientists have shown that air pollution from autos, mills and power workss is a major cause of asthma onslaughts. ‘ Further research is presently underway in the United Kingdom ( UK ) and the United States of America ( USA ) to turn out this theory.
Pietermaritzburg has high degrees of particulate affair and ozone which are two pollutants straight responsible for the triggering of asthma onslaughts. The temperature inversion in Pietermaritzburg is a known geographical fact – which worsens the pollution significantly. It is hence scientifically right to province that air pollution in Pietermaritzburg is worsened by the temperature inversion and this air pollution triggers and worsens asthma onslaughts.