Industrial perspectives on the implementation of the Air Quality Act (AQA) (Act No. 39 of 2004)
The Air Quality Act (AQA) Act No.39 of 2004 promulgated in 2004 follows the outdated Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act (APPA) (Act No.45 of 1965). The legislative approach shifted from a source- based, end of pipe, command and control, guideline principle to ambient air quality management and improvement of compliance to standards through a consultative process. The AQA’s management framework incorporates a co-operative and integrated approach with government, communities and polluters to look at the holistic management of ambient air quality and the identified roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders. The AQA branched from the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) 107 of 1998, which is the first piece of legislation formalizing the principles of the Integrated Pollution Waste Management (IPWM) Policy published in 2000 and the Bill of Rights. Government and Industry have a role to play in the implementation of the AQA. Government’s role covers the management and enforcement aspects, whilst industries’ role includes the management of air emissions and compliance reporting to improve the overall ambient air quality. The AQA’s industrial requirements range from compliance and reporting by ensuring emission licenses are in place, compliance with standards set by different spheres of government and the management of these emissions. The management of these requirements includes understanding the legislation, its implications and the provision of other financial, human and technological resources. Industry needs to consider the impacts of these legislative changes and how it may impact business as a whole. The aim of this study is to analyze the industrial perspectives of the AQA and its implementation through the use of a questionnaire. Open-ended questionnaires were administered to a total of forty industrial companies in the chemical, petrochemical, energy and mining sectors in the Gauteng, North West and Durban industrial areas. Industries were identified as those which have scheduled process certificates or companies that will be impacted by the impending changes as a result of the AQA. The overall outcome of the industrial responses revealed poor general knowledge of the principles, purpose and the reasons for the transition from APPA to AQA. Few industries had insight into the type of challenges they may face from the AQA’s listed control measures and the control measures that would apply to their particular industry. There is a general concern surrounding the government’s lack of support and the essential enforcement that is required to ensure ambient air quality compliance. These challenges and recommendations are discussed in the thesis.