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Study on sulphur dioxide (SO₂) and particulate matter 10 (PM₁₀) variations in the City of Tshwane, Gauteng.

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Air pollution is a global concern caused by road and air traffic, the rapid growth of the industrial sector, and urban development. About 3.7 million people annually die prematurely, globally caused by air pollution. Air pollution also destroys the crops that would have been enough to feed millions of people. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported an alarming 80% of urban area dwellers in selected areas breathing air laden with pollutant levels above the set standards (WHO, 2016). South Africa established a database of regions that tracks air pollution levels. As of 2013, there were reports that the greater Johannesburg / Gauteng region had the most polluted air in the country. In 2016, the Hartbeespoort area was added to the database, due to it’s highly polluted air because of its proximity to major industrial areas. Air quality in the City of Tshwane, situated in Gauteng Province, is also influenced by its location as it is close to the industrial areas of Johannesburg. Globally, the city was the 162nd most air-polluted area, with a particulate matter concentration of 60 mg/m3. Mining operations and other industries, vehicle emissions, domestic fuel burning, and veld fires are among the sources of poor air quality in the Gauteng province. Gauteng is also one of the most densely populated areas, with heavy traffic and informal settlements using coal or other fuel fires also adding to the air pollution. This research aimed to examine the significant air pollutants in Tshwane, Gauteng, and the resulting air quality. Pollutants of concern in this study were sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM10). The study focused on temporal variations of the concentrations of the major pollutants at the continuous air quality monitoring stations. Furthermore, the focus was on how the concentrations of the pollutants influence the quality of the environment and human health. Sampling took place at various areas in the City of Tshwane, and the results were compared to the WHO standards for air quality. It was found that solutions to the air pollution problems exist, including better and simpler methods for starting coal fires, broader electrification, cleaner stoves and chimneys, increased ventilation, and the use of low-smoke fuels, less production of carbon dioxide, and overall improvements in technology.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.