Air quality highlighted in the Overberg
The Overberg District Municipality will implement a new air quality management plan from the start of 2013. The plan aims to ensure municipal areas achieve the prescribed air quality standards. It is currently in draft form, with the public able to comment on the document by 21 November.
The plan was presented at the Overberg Integrated Conservation Group meeting, held in Bredasdorp on 24 October. The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative is a member of the OICG.
Air quality refers to noise and odour, addressing sources of air pollution. The draft plan highlights specific sources of pollution in the Overberg, such as industrial operations in Gansbaai and Hermanus, agricultural activities such as crop burning, vehicle emissions and biomass burning including veld fires.
Air quality monitoring undertaken in 2006 in the Overberg found that pollution levels were low, and well within the thresholds required by national government. Sulphur dioxide levels were, however, higher in Gansbaai and Botriver, while nitrogen dioxide values were higher in Zwelihle, Hermanus.
Through the air quality management plan, the Overberg District Municipality is hoping to address the lack of skills in the field of air quality management at municipal level. Already the ODM has appointed an Interim Air Quality Officer, who has appointed an air quality management committee. It is hoped the plan will also effectively divide roles and responsibilities between local and district municipalities, which the draft plan claims is currently not clearly understood.
An Air Quality Forum will also be established, to facilitate proper communication between municipalities, provincial government, business and industry, as well as other interested and affected parties.