We listed and gave brief details on the causes of air pollution in South Africa and possible solutions. Being a developing country, South Africa has a very strong reliance on the use of fossil fuels to generate energy. This has therefore resulted in productivity losses and contributed to a high rate of mortality due to increased air pollution. This pollution has been concluded to be majorly caused by particulate matter.
Consequently, there has been a high increase in the development of diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. There has also been a high mortality rate recorded. In a study conducted by the International Growth Centre, it was found that air pollution costs the country 6 percent of its Gross Domestic Profit due to 7.4 percent deaths recorded in 2012 due to particulate matter.
However, the cause of air pollution in South Africa is not only limited to fossil fuel as there are numerous other causes too. Some of these causes include the following:
Causes of Air Pollution In South Africa
1. Population Increase
A study conducted by Statistics South Africa in 2006 found that the population of Sub Saharan in 2010 will double by the year 2050 and that 40 percent of this population will be living in the urban areas.
The study also found that there has been an increase in South Africa’s population by 25 percent in 2016 since 2000. The cause of the increase in population has been linked to the following:
- Urbanization: There has been an increase in the development of urban centers due to intensive economic and social activities that are typically linked to excessive energy consumption.
- Increased Migration: There has been an internal and external migration for socio-economic reasons like the source of livelihood etc.
- Increase in access to financial resources
- There has also been an increase in the changes in consumption volumes. It was also found in this scenario that the middle class is the most carbon intense class.
2. Increase In Transport Sector Including Road, Rail, Aviation and Shipping
Out of the major transportation means in South Africa, the road transporting system is the dominant mode. This is because 80 percent of goods and 90 percent of passengers use this mode of transportation. In addition, it is the fastest-growing source of emission in the country, the largest source of urban air pollution, the largest source of transport sector emissions with 92 percent GNG in 2010. However, aviation, rail, and shipping sectors are also important transport sectors with significant emissions, according to Environmental Affairs, the Republic of South Africa in 2017.
3. Increase In Energy Usage
In South Africa, the key commercial energy fuels used in the generation of electricity and in the transport sectors are coal and petroleum. Meanwhile, power generation from coal is the major source of emissions in the country. Unfortunately, analysts have it that coal will probably serve as the driver of energy in South Africa for the time being. In a study conducted by Statistics South Africa in 2017, 67 percent, 15 percent, 14 percent, 2 percent of the primary sources of South Africa’s energy supply in 2010 comes from coal, crude oil, petroleum, and nuclear power respectively.
More causes of air pollution in South Africa include;
- Domestic Fuel Burning
- Industrial Emission
- Waste Management
- Biomass Burning
- Landfill Gas Emission
- AirPort Emission
Solutions To Air Pollutions In South Africa
- Effective Institutional Framework and Legislation
This is done by creating, developing, implementing, maintaining, and continuously improving on an effective, adequately resourced, and harmonized institutional framework and integrated legislative system and to build institutional capacity.
- Pollution Prevention and Impact Management
South Africa should try to promote holistic and integrated air quality management through pollution prevention, minimization at source, and impact management.
- Holistic and Integrated Planning Strategy
Air pollution can be reduced by developing mechanisms to ensure that air quality management considerations are effectively integrated into the development of government policies, strategies and programs, all spatial and economic development planning processes, and all economic activities.
- Participation and Partnership In Air Quality Management Governance
South African Government can reduce the causes of air pollution in the country by establishing mechanisms and processes to ensure effective public participation in air quality management governance.
- Empowerment and Education in Air Quality Management
Education is the key to any form of ignorance. Air pollution can be reduced by promoting the education and empowerment of South Africa’s people to increase their awareness of and concern for air pollution issues and assist in developing the knowledge, values, skills, and commitment necessary to achieve efficient and effective air quality management.
- Information Management
By developing and maintaining databases and information management systems so as to provide accessible information to interested and affected parties that will support effective air quality management, air pollution can be reduced in South Africa and Africa at large.
- International Cooperation
No one is an island of knowledge. South Africa should seek international cooperation in order to develop mechanisms to deal effectively, and in the national interest, with international issues affecting air and atmospheric quality.
Possible Transport Solutions
- Policy Interventions in lead and Sulphur(II) Oxide reductions
Lead and Sulphur (11) Oxide are major constituents of particulate matter that predominate in air pollution. With the formation of policies geared toward their reduction, the rate of air pollution in the country will drastically be reduced.
- Implementation of the Vehicle Emissions Strategy
South Africa should develop strategies that will help in controlling the number of vehicles on the streets. With this, the rate of emissions from vehicles will be reduced. In addition, there should be a shift toward the development and usage of electric cars that are known to produce little or no emissions.
Possible Energy Solutions
- Improved technology in emission reduction as well as the reduction in dependency on fossil fuel.
South African Government should invest in the manufacture or purchase of technological items that will help in reducing the rate of emission in the country. In addition, dependency on fossil fuel as a major energy source should be reduced.
- Increased Biomass Burning
Burning is almost exclusive as a result of human activities. In fact, burning is the largest source of emissions in Africa. This has also been found to be on the increase in South Africa. There has been
- Massive burning of forested area in the guise of land clearing
- Agricultural residues e.g. sugar cane burning
- Burning of natural grasslands
- Sustaining shifting cultivation by burning Savannas
Closing On Air Pollution In South Africa (Causes & Solution):
South Africa is a developing country, hence there is a need for further infrastructural and technological development in the country. However, while developing these areas, it should be taken into the cognizance of the drastic effect of air pollution like increased mortality rate, increase disease development, etc on the pollution.
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