Highveld declared air pollution hot spot

Posted by Laura Grant on November 26, 2007
Posted in Green News

A 31,000 square kilometre area extending across eastern Gauteng and western Mpumalanga has been declared an air pollution hot spot by the minister of environmental affairs and tourism.

The “Highveld Priority Area” is home to 3.6-million people and includes Witbank, Middelburg, Secunda, Standerton, Edenvale, Boksburg, Benoni and Balfour.

Sources of air pollution include power stations, timber industries, metal smelters, petrochemical plants, brick and stone works, mines (primarily coal mines), fertiliser and chemical producers, explosives producers and charcoal producers.

“In declaring the Highveld Priority Area, the minister is satisfied that a situation exists within the area which is causing, or may cause, a significant negative impact on air quality and that the area requires specific air quality management action to rectify the situation,” said a DEAT spokesperson.

DEAT and the affected provincial and municipal departments now have two years to develop an air quality management plan for the area.

The Highveld is the second priority area to be declared under the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act 2004. The first was the Vaal Triangle Air-Shed Priority Area, declared in April 2006.

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