The Importance of Dust Control

Here are a couple or articles on the importance of dust control. Enjoy the read and have a great day!

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7 Ways Dust Control Improves Composite Manufacturing Operations

Nilfisk

“For composite manufacturers, dust is a constant. Whether you make aircraft wings, car fenders, or tennis rackets, chances are if you look around your facility, you’ll see plenty of dust.

Because it’s everywhere, dust can affect many different aspects of your operations, especially if it’s not properly controlled. In that way, controlling your dust is like properly hydrating your body. If you’re hydrated, all of your body systems can function at their peak. If you’re dehydrated, your other systems won’t work well at all.

Let’s look at seven ways dust control can improve your composite manufacturing operations across the board.

1. Reduced risk of cross-contamination
Composites manufacturing is highly sensitive to contamination. Dust that becomes airborne can travel to and interfere with other processes and products. This can quickly increase the size of your scrap pile. By controlling dust at the source, you can ensure that it doesn’t affect what’s happening in other areas of your plant.

2. Improved product quality
In addition to contaminating processes and products, dust also has an immediate and negative impact on how your equipment functions. Dust control will help you keep your equipment working in top shape, which means your products will continue to reflect the quality your company is known for providing.

3. Lower equipment maintenance costs
Over time, if dust is allowed to accumulate, it can cause wear and tear on your equipment. This not only affects product quality, but also increases the cost of maintaining your equipment.

4. Less downtime due to equipment breakdowns
In the worst case scenario, dust accumulation can cause your equipment to break down entirely. This means not only emergency maintenance, which is much more expensive than scheduled maintenance, but you might have to replace the equipment entirely. And, of course, if your equipment breaks down, your production line has to stop, and every minute of downtime equals a dip in your bottom line.

5. Improved compliance
Pretty much all dust in composites manufacturing facilities is combustible. And composites manufacturers are being targeted by OSHA for dust-related violations. By implementing OSHA’s recommended methods for dust control, you can keep your company on your inspector’s good side.

Composites manufacturers also need to be aware of OSHA’s new final rule on exposure to silica dust. Many composite raw materials and molded products contain silica, which can have long-term adverse effects on health. The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) has published a study to help composites manufacturers comply with OSHA requirements. Learn more from Industrial Equipment News and on the ACMA website.

6. Reduced risk of a dust-related fire or explosion
Of course, the main reason to comply with dust standards isn’t just to avoid OSHA penalties. It’s to ensure your entire operation doesn’t go up in smoke. Keeping your dust level below the recommended threshold is the best way to protect your facility against dust-related fires and explosions.

7. Improved worker health and safety
Fires, explosions, and silica are just a few of the dust-related risks to worker health. Many composite manufacturing processes produce other particles small enough to be respirable. Certain types of dust are also slippery, which can lead to falls. Overall, a clean facility is a safe and healthy facility.”

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Dust Collection: Expense or Investment?

BY – Karen Wood

Composites World 

Well-engineered dust control systems not only improve shop air quality but also boost productivity, prolong machine life and save energy.

Fifteen years ago, dust management in composites manufacturing operations was somewhat unsophisticated. A common solution to the dust generated by cutting, trimming, sanding and grinding was to cut a hole in the shop wall and install an exhaust fan. Although simple and relatively inexpensive, this method did little but improve visibility. Today, governments mandate particulate emission control, both inside and outside the plant. Respirable dust, which is classified as less than or equal to 5 µm in diameter, is small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs, with serious health consequences. But the cost of uncontrolled dust goes beyond worker health. Inhalable dust, which averages 10 µm in diameter, not only can get trapped in the nose, throat, and upper respiratory tract and irritate eyes and skin, but it also can build up on machinery components, causing premature wear. Moreover, dust can impact product quality as well. In this respect, says Ken Abbott, managing member of Envirosystems LLC (Tucson, Ariz.), “the composites industry is unique. It’s very sophisticated in terms of materials and techniques, and with that sophistication comes an increased sensitivity to contamination.” If allowed to float freely through the air, dust from carbon fiber, for example, can corrode surrounding aluminum components, and a small amount of any contaminant on a faying surface can interfere with adhesion in bonded part assemblies. As a result, the industry’s overall perception of dust control has begun to change.

“Long perceived as simply a cost of doing business, companies are now realizing that dust collection equipment — when done right — can be an investment,” says Abbot. “Our customers expect dust collection to help improve product quality, reduce scrap due to contaminated parts, lower housekeeping and equipment maintenance costs, and boost worker productivity.”

MANDATE FOR DUST MANAGEMENT
Managing particulate as minute as one-twelfth the width of a human hair is challenging: The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Admin. (OSHA), for example, requires that worker exposure levels for respirable dust be limited to just 5 mg/m³ averaged over an eight-hour period. Without dust control, “most people using a sander or grinder will quickly exceed the OSHA level,” says D. Scott McConnell, vice president, Dustcontrol Inc. (Wilmington, N.C.). The key is to investment in what dust control system designers call an engineered solution.

Today, dust control systems are rarely off-the-shelf products. Instead, each is customized to meet the requirements of the customer’s application, and there are many variations from which to choose. While a well-designed system can have a positive affect on the bottom line, the opposite also is true: “You can put an inexpensive system together and collect dust with it, but if it is not done correctly, it can be very expensive to operate,” warns Abbott. System design involves consideration of factors that impact the effectiveness of dust containment technology, including the dust collection method and vacuum systems (fan size, motor power rating and filter media) — the selection of which depends on careful calculation of application-specific process variables, such as air volume, capture velocity and static pressure.

ENGINEERING FOR EXTRACTION EFFICIENCY
One of the most important variables in dust control system design is air volume. To determine the air volume required for a particular application, the width of the space to be controlled is multiplied by the height, resulting in a room cross-section value expressed in square feet (ft²). This cross-sectional area is multiplied by the required speed of air movement through the room in feet per minute (fpm) to calculate air volume, as expressed in cubic feet per minute (cfm). Therefore, airflow speed of 50 fpm in a room that measures 40 ft wide by 10 ft high (12m by 3m) would require fan volume of 20,000 cfm.

When selecting a fan, says Abbott, “static pressure will determine whether or not the fan will perform the function for which it was chosen.” Static pressure (SP) — or resistance to airflow — essentially rates how much resistance to airflow can be introduced (by dust buildup, filter media and/or ductwork, for example) without affecting the air volume rating. “Using a fan with the incorrect SP rating will result in a system that, at best, will cost more than it should to operate or, at worst, won’t be able to do the job at all,” says Abbott.

“As an example, a fan with a rating of 10,000 cfm at 0.75-inch SP may only use a 5-hp motor to effectively move air, at that static pressure, through a paint booth or other type of low-resistance system,” says Abbott. If this same fan and paint booth were used to collect dust, however, “the fan will be all but useless before dust is even collected because a new filter provides 0.75-inch SP right out of the box,” he contends, noting that “a 10,000-cfm fan suitable for a typical dust collection system will need to achieve its full rated volume at a resistance closer to 3 inches SP or more to be effective and would require 10 hp or more.”

A large factor that affects system design is the size of ductwork that might be required to transport dust from the source to its collection point. Duct size in cross-section directly affects system performance and is based on what particulate will be collected and the volume of air that must be moved. According to Donaldson Torit (Minneapolis, Minn.), which offers cartridge- and bag-type dust collectors, ductwork that’s too small tends to restrict airflow, resulting in pressure loss. This reduces the air volume and increases energy use. If the ducts are too large compared to the air volume, air velocity is reduced. Dust capture will be poor and dust will not be pulled through the ductwork.

A key to system efficiency, then, is to minimize static pressure. Assuming an average cost of industrial power of approximately $0.08 (USD) per kilowatt hour (KwH), operating one 5-hp fan for a single shift, five days a week, for 52 weeks would cost $805 per year. If, due to ducting or other installation requirements, the fan needs 30 hp to move the same air volume, the cost would be $4,238 per year. “The most cost-effective method of eliminating airborne contamination is to confine it to one area where it can be isolated and filtered using the least amount of air,” says Abbott. Strategies include locating the dust collector as close as possible to the area it is filtering to reduce ductwork and, therefore, the fan’s horsepower requirement. Whenever possible, the filtered air should be exhausted back into the plant to retain conditioned air — heated air in the winter or chilled air in the summer — to minimize building heating and cooling costs.

SELECTING A COLLECTION STRATEGY
Given these design constraints, dust control system manufacturers have developed three basic collection strategies: whole-room, containment booth and source-point capture. Strategy selection is based on the size, type and number of the customer’s dust-generating machines.

Whole-room systems are often the only practical option when an individual piece of equipment is massive, such as a gantry-style CNC router. The whole-room approach typically involves a room built around a machine to reduce noise and dust. The dust collector, which can be located outside the building or inside, pulls air from the work area into an inlet device — typically mounted along the wall at the narrow end of the room. The air is directed through filter media where contaminants are trapped and clean air is exhausted back into the work area or outside the building. These systems can involve extensive ductwork or, in some cases, be free of ductwork.

Envirosystems’ trademarked AirWall dust collection equipment, for example, is self-contained, eliminating the need for ductwork and greatly reducing static pressure. “By saving 2 to 3 inches in static pressure with no ductwork, we can move the same amount of air with a 5-hp fan as a ducted system [can move] with a 40-hp fan,” Abbott claims.

The system reportedly removes more than 99.99 percent of airborne sub-micron particles (down to 0.5 micron in size), which surpasses current OSHA requirements. A high-velocity, reverse pulse-jet cleaning system automatically cleans cartridge filters (see “Filtration Facts” at the end of this article, on p. 3).

Given a room size of 20-ft by 30-ft by 10-ft (6.1m by 9.1m by 3m), a complete air change every minute would require air to be pulled through the room at 30 fpm and could demand a fan volume as high as 6,000 cfm in a ducted system. In a duct-free system, the same air volume reportedly can be achieved with a 5-hp fan. The average cost of the duct-free system would be about $15,000.

Where room size is larger than the dust-generating machinery, the latter can be located within a contamination control booth (CCB), a three-sided, ceilinged structure with integral lighting, open on the fourth side for easy access. “Booth sizes can be as small as 10-ft by 10-ft or as large as 130-ft by 50-ft [39.6m by 15.2m],” explains Ronnie Frees, president of Frees Inc. (Shreveport, La.). “Tub and shower manufacturing operations, for instance, typically require 40-ft by 40-ft [12.2m by 12.2m] containment rooms.”

An exhaust fan with relatively high airflow, typically in the 140 fpm to 160 fpm range, draws air out of the CCB, creating negative pressure within the CCB that draws air into the booth’s open end, preventing dust from escaping. A grinding booth for two to four workers measuring 22 ft wide by 7.5 ft high by 8 ft deep (6.7m by 2.3m by 2.4m) would require a 20-hp to 30-hp fan motor to pull the 160 fpm necessary to generate an air velocity of 22,000 cfm. The system would cost approximately $36,000.

Frees and other companies offer an additional “air curtain” feature that can be adapted to both large CCBs and room-size exhaust systems. A blower system is positioned at the front edges of the open booth or on the side opposite the collectors in room-size applications (see photo, this page). These blowers generate a high-velocity positive airflow angled toward the collectors to reinforce transport velocity within the booth.

To create its air curtain, Frees’ trademarked Dust-Free system uses a “push-pull” recirculation method. An exhaust fan draws dust into a dust-separation chamber at the back of the CCB where a filter tube sheet traps up to 99 percent of the airborne dust particles. The clean air then is channeled through ductwork to the open end of the chamber where it provides positive airflow, pushing the air inside the room back toward the dust collector inlet. The system uses digital direct control (DDC) to save energy. “When workers are in the containment area working, the system is on, and when they stop working, the system will gradually slow down until it is off or nearly off,” says Frees.

The source-point capture strategy can take several forms and becomes a practical option when the dust source can be localized and is especially useful when large volumes of dust are being generated by one source. “The source-point capture system offers advantages for operations where there are many different machines operating in a large space with no way to effectively group and enclose them for effective dust control,” says Abbott.

For stationary equipment — both large and small — source-point capture can be accomplished via an overhead or side-draft hood. For handheld tools, there are two options: The down draft table, which draws dust down through a perforated tabletop, does not impair tool use, but it is best used with smaller parts because large parts can block airflow and create pockets of dust-filled air. Capture also can be accomplished by affixing a suction casing, or shroud, and vacuum hose as near as possible to the dust-generating portion of the tool. (See photos, this page) Ductwork, typically located overhead, connects the dust collection unit to suction outlets from which individual hoses can be dropped down to the work area. Usually located near or along compressed air “drops,” hoses are typically looped with and run parallel to the pneumatic airline or electrical power cord for easy handling. Automatic valves can be used so that suction only occurs when the tool is actually in use.

A typical source-point capture system designed with four drops to accommodate two to four workers operating vacuum-assisted, heavy-duty sanders, for example, would require a 10-hp turbo pump and cost approximately $18,000.”

For the full report, please follow the link to the site.

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Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Air pollution and mental trauma

Keeping with our latest posts theme we are now looking at the effect of air pollution on our health and mental well being.  Enjoy the read!

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Air pollution drives mental trauma
Sipho Kings 03 May 2017

Mail & Guardian

“The air that they breathe kills about 20 000 South Africans each year. The number of those who struggle to breathe, sleep and exercise as a result of air pollution is unknown but international research indicates it is likely to be millions of people.

In addition, most of South Africa’s air quality monitoring stations, confined to the major metros, do not work. That means decisions are made and implemented without knowing the effect the resultant air pollution has on people’s health and mental wellbeing.

New research from the University of York in the United Kingdom, has tried to tackle this. The work — titled Can Clean Air Make You Happy? — found that nitrogen dioxide is “significantly and negatively related to life satisfaction”.

Breathing the gas has the same effect on people’s quality of life as ending a relationship, or having their partner or close family member die.

Nitrogen dioxide is emitted in great quantities by diesel vehicles and coal-fired power stations. Nitrogen dioxide gets trapped in urban areas, and forms a blanket over rural areas. In cities, tall buildings, walls and roads ensure that the gas from car exhausts is funnelled and concentrated. People walking or running down these funnels then breathe the gas in, sucking it deep into their lungs. The gas inflames the lining of their lungs, reducing immunity to lung infections. It exacerbates other conditions such as colds, bronchitis and asthma. And it increases the chances of cancer.

Air pollution tracking by Nasa has shown that Johannesburg and the Pretoria area have the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide in the southern hemisphere.

The report found a correlation between how unhappy people felt and how much bad air they breath.

When people see themselves as being in poor health, the negative effect of being exposed to nitrogen dioxide is compounded — mentally. The research says: “Nitrogen dioxide has a more substantive negative relationship with the life satisfaction of individuals who regard themselves as being in relatively poor health, as opposed to those who classify themselves as being relatively satisfied with their health.”

That finding carries with it serious implications for poorer South Africans who live downwind coal-fired power stations and have little effective access to healthcare.

It also means every person living in urban areas has their quality of life reduced by the vehicles driving around them. This is either directly through inhaling nitrogen dioxide and becoming sick and depressed.

To reach their conclusion on the effect of nitrogen dioxide, the research team took the findings from research on life satisfaction, done in the UK, and overlaid it with data on air pollution.

Similar data is not available in South Africa. For starters, air quality monitoring stations are located in large urban areas. Then, they either do not work or are inconsistent and do not give a data record from which any conclusions can be drawn.

In eThekwini, air quality pollution monitors had not reported data since 2013, according to the environment department. This is despite the port and petrochemical plants releasing toxic gases over residential areas south of Durban.

There is also little research into air quality in South Africa. In 2014, the Mail & Guardian published a rare report that had been commissioned for Eskom on the effect of its coal-fired fleet. Mostly based in Mpumalanga and Limpopo, these stations were predicted to kill 617 people a year when fully operational. A further 24 842 people would be admitted to hospital each year. The utility has consistently refused to answer questions about this data, but the research said most of the deaths would be as a result of sulphur dioxide pollution.

Diesel vehicles, the other major source of sulphur dioxide emissions, make up 20% of the South African market but there is no research into their effect on air quality. Data from the World Health Organisation for 2016 showed that Hartbeespoort has the worst air quality in South Africa, followed by Pretoria and Johannesburg. In those three cases, the levels were double that recommended as safe by the organisation.

The University of York’s work is part of a growing field of research into the psychological effect of broken environments. Previous research has shown that living near green areas improves mental and physical wellbeing.

At the moment, findings like these are not used in decision-making. The researchers said: “Unfortunately, environmental amenities often do not have prices and will therefore be typically underprovided by the market.”

So, a green area that might suck up nitrogen dioxide emissions and give people clean air will still be replaced by an apartment block because that block creates tangible profit. Fixing people’s health creates benefits that are hard to track, but still save the state in healthcare costs.

The researchers said more of this kind of work is needed: “In order to provide a clear rationale for environmental management and regulation, it is important to calculate how much value people attribute to environmental features.”

This research could start to nudge development decisions in favour of those that lead to better lives for people.”

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Air pollution kills 20 000 per year in South Africa – as many as in traffic
Sipho Kings 12 Sep 2016

Mail & Guardian

“Air pollution kills 20 000 people in South Africa every year, costing the economy nearly R300-million. This is according to new research from the World Bank.

The research, Air Pollution: Strengthening the Economic Case for Action, concluded that air pollution kills 5.5-million people each year, making it responsible for one in every 10 deaths worldwide. That data comes from the World Health Organisation.

Five million deaths a year make air pollution the fourth leading cause of premature deaths in the world. Only smoking, obesity and dietary issues kill more people.

Writing in the research, lead author Urvashi Narain, said: “The scale of the problem is truly daunting.”

In terms of cost, the bank calculated that premature deaths cost the world economy R3-trillion in lost work days alone. Those are people that are too sick to go to work, mostly from chest problems such as asthma.

The impact of air pollution is, however, much greater when all the costs are included.

Besides the cost of missing work, people also have to spend money on staying healthy by buying things such as asthma medication. This cost is also carried by the state.

By World Bank calculations, the total cost of this to the world economy is R70-trillion a year.

Worst-hit are developing countries, according to the researchers. Over 90% of premature deaths attributed to air pollution happened in these countries, where the same percentage of the population are exposed to “dangerous levels of air pollution”.

The research looked at air pollution between 1990 and 2013, comparing the impacts of pollution in those two years.

“Air pollution is not just a health risk but also a drag on development. By causing illness and premature death, air pollution reduces the quality of life. By causing loss of productive labour, it also reduces incomes in those countries.”

Developing countries – whose rapidly growing economies translate into more pollution from coal-fired power stations and new industry – have borne the brunt of it.

According to the report, 87% of the world’s population lives in areas where the air pollution exceeds the World Health Organisation’s safe levels.

Old people and the poorest are disproportionately affected. “The poor are more likely to live and work in polluted environments, but they are less able to avoid exposure or self-protect.” The researchers said that this part of the population is then stuck, too sick to work and unable to afford medication.

The bank concluded: “Air pollution is a challenge that threatens basic human welfare, damages natural and physical capital, and constrains economic growth.”

The same logic follows in South Africa. The apartheid regime put poor, non-white people downwind of industrial sites. In its 2014 investigation titled Slow Poison: Air pollution, public health and failing governance, nongovernmental group Groundwork said: “People are still polluted and made sick by this pollution.”

Writing in that report, the group’s head Bobby Peek said: “The blueprint for a black neighbourhood was a waste dumpsite, where waste from rich white neighbourhoods and dirty industry was dumped.””

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Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Air Pollution In Johannesburg

SOUTH AFRICA- Aerial view of Johannesburg

Following up on our last post regarding air pollution in China, I’ve brought it closer to home and given you some articles to read on air pollution in Johannesburg.

Again, please follow the links to read the full or original articles.

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Johannesburg Can’t Compromise On Air PollutionHuffPost
Herman Mashaba, Mayor of Johannesburg

“In South Africa, air pollution is more severe in urban areas, and the city of Johannesburg is no exception.

The majority of our country’s population migrates to the cities from rural areas for economic reasons, attracted by employment opportunities available in the urban centers. This results in the mushrooming of dense, low-income, informal settlements –– which are mostly under-resourced and do not have access to basic amenities, including electricity supply.

The city completed a baseline assessment of its air quality, which identified that the city’s air pollution emanates from domestic fuel burning, vehicle emissions, industries, biomass burning and mine storage facilities.

The city has a network of nine ambient air-quality monitoring stations that include stations in Alexandra, Ivory Park, Diepsloot, Jabavu, Orange Farm, Buccleuch, Davidsonville, Delta Park and Newtown. Seven of the stations are in residential areas, and two are traffic-emission stations. The data from these monitoring stations is compared to the national applicable standards, which are set to protect the public’s health and well-being.

Unfortunately, the city’s poorest communities often bear the brunt of higher levels of poor air quality. Over time, the monitoring stations located in the city’s residential areas have observed record pollution levels higher than the national standard, especially during the cold winter months, when most people still use fossil fuel for heating.

It is the city of Johannesburg’s priority to improve the city’s air quality –– to ensure pro-poor development that addresses inequality and poverty, and provides meaningful redress. Unfortunately, air pollution affects more of our poor communities in the city because of inequality and years of poor infrastructure planning.

To improve the city’s air quality, we have completed a review of our air quality management plan and our air pollution control bylaws. The plan provides the city’s vision and goals for the next five years. A regulatory framework has been developed to manage other sources of air pollution in the city. The two documents are in the final stage of completion, and public consultations will take place prior to their finalization.

In terms of the national Air Quality Act 39 of 2004, the city is responsible for air quality management ― both in terms of regulations and compliance enforcement. In terms of the city’s regulatory function, all the industrial activities that are identified in the act as significant emitters that contribute to poor air quality are licensed, and a total of 37 such facilities exist in the city. These facilities are issued with atmospheric emission licenses, which set out emission limits that are regularly monitored for compliance. Those that are found to be noncompliant are subject to enforcement actions.

The interventions that deal with emissions from domestic fuel burning are complex and require a multifaceted approach. Materials used for domestic fuel are often not by choice, since in many cases people don’t have access to electricity –– and even when it is available, they can’t afford it.

To mitigate against this, the city has prioritized the upgrade of informal settlements, which includes the provision of electricity and other amenities for those registered on the city’s indigent register. The interventions are aimed at improving our communities, while simultaneously improving the quality of air. Additionally, the city has allocated budget for new housing units that are insulated and require less energy for interior heating, and are fitted with solar water heaters.

The city’s approach to dealing with air pollution involves programs that respond to specific pollution sources. Small industries and vehicles are included in our draft bylaws to ensure control, and they set out appropriate operational conditions to ensure the reduction of emissions in these sectors over time. These measures include permits and the creation of smoke-free zones in an attempt to reduce the city’s air pollution. The city is also collaborating with other spheres of government to deal with issues such as dust from mine storage facilities.

Domestic waste burning is a result of illegal waste dumping. Although the city has various programs and interventions to resolve illegal dumping, our most significant intervention is the city-wide A Re Sebetseng monthly cleanup campaign. This monthly campaign is a ward-based cleaning initiative on the last Saturday of every month that encourages residents and communities to reduce their communal carbon footprint.

The project enhances the city’s investment of 50 million rand into Pikitup for a third cleaning shift within the city. This investment is expected to grow to 82 million rand in the medium term. A Re Sebetseng is modeled on the Rwanda Umuganda, which is also a monthly campaign where all residents come together to clean Kigali. Through this campaign, the city of Kigali is now known as the cleanest city in Africa.”

For the complete article, follow the link above.

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Joburg plans to clear the air
A partnership between Johannesburg and IBM will give the city automated, real-time data on air pollution
22 MARCH 2018 – 11:59 KATE FERREIRA

Financial Mail

“As more and more people flock to cities, the threat of environmental pollution and its associated health risks grow — conjuring images of swarms of people in pollution masks.

Compounding this is the growth in “dirty” industry and urban sprawl that brings people in closer contact with factories, mines and manufacturing plants — and the pollution they produce. But technology presents city management with a new tool to measure and even combat this. One such project is playing out on the streets of Johannesburg.

Exposure to air pollution is a risk factor in respiratory complaints, heart disease, stroke and cancer. The World Health Organisation (WHO) calls it the world’s single biggest environmental health risk, and in 2012 attributed around 7m deaths to its effects — with the majority of these in low-and middle-income countries.

The World Bank estimates air pollution kills around 20,000 people annually in SA, and puts the cost to the economy, through factors like health-care costs and lost productivity, at R300m.

SA has standards in place to try to curb this. Gauteng subscribes to a provincial air quality control management plan — drawn from the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act — that prescribes limits to things like particulate matter and the levels of certain compounds and elements, including sulphur dioxide, ozone, lead and carbon monoxide, in the air. But measuring these, and potentially identifying and punishing transgressors, remains a challenge.

Here the power of the Internet of Things and big data gives us the kind of insight that city governments and regulators could previously only dream of.

That’s the crux of a Joburg air quality project being run by the City of Johannesburg and IBM Research. At the IBM Research lab in the Tshimologong precinct in Braamfontein, Tapiwa Chiwewe is using machine learning and analytics to measure several air quality factors, forecast potential poor air quality events, and even use “reverse-forecasting” to pinpoint culprits not sticking to the standards.

The lab was established in 2016, as IBM’s second research facility on the continent. Chiwewe is its manager for advanced and applied artificial intelligence.

“We like to speak about solving Africa’s grand challenges, and one that we identified is air pollution.”

The idea first sparked for Chiwewe on his daily commute into town from Pretoria, when he noticed the haze hanging over the city. From there they reached out to the city authorities, who Chiwewe describes as progressive in their thinking about the issue.

They struck an agreement to draw pollutant monitoring data from six air quality monitoring stations around Johannesburg, as well as historical data from the city dating back to 2004, and further data from the Vaal Triangle and City of Tshwane monitoring stations. The stations also monitor other parameters, such as weather conditions.

Unlike some big data applications, a key element here is not the size (in terabytes, for example) of data being crunched, but the rate, says Chiwewe. Each of the stations is taking multiple readings an hour (some every 10 minutes) and these feed back to IBM and are processed for near real-time insight.

City of Johannesburg spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane says the analytics and forecasting strengthen the city’s air quality management strategies. Among other things it enables an early-warning system and tracks the effectiveness of intervention strategies. “In future it will change the way air-quality information is communicated to the public,” he says.

“Air quality data is meaningful only if it’s easily interpreted and readily available. It is at this level that it changes the lives of people, as forecasting can enable members of communities that are sensitive to poor air quality to [choose] whether to expose themselves or not,” he says.

In exchange for data access, the city gets access to a platform IBM developed that stores and crunches the data. This can produce an air quality index and alerts, and show location and temporal trends in air pollution that can be mapped onto the city, and could potentially be a tool to check actual emissions against the values on an emissions licence. It also feeds into city and developmental planning. This transforms the monitoring from a manual process — using spreadsheets and pivot tables — to one showing real-time data visualisations.

The platform is not public, but it has the potential to feed into public-facing applications, such as websites or apps that could colour-code the air quality status to be less scientific and more user-friendly, or issue alerts for certain areas if they anticipate an “adverse pollution event”.

There are many similar projects running throughout the world – both private and publicly backed – as the Internet of Things becomes mainstream. In SA, Open Data Durban won a grant to install air-and water-quality sensors in a Durban township for monitoring and data journalism purposes. The City of Cape Town also makes a portion of its historical air quality data (2013–2016) publicly available online.”

Please follow the link to the original article to read it in full.

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Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Single Bucket DustWatch unit

Single Bucket DustWatch unit

Air Pollution in China

Air pollution in China

Here are some interesting article on the issue of air pollution in China.  Please follow the links provided to the original articles.

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Impact of ambient fine particulate matter air pollution on health behaviors: a longitudinal study of university students in Beijing, China.

PubMed NCBI

“OBJECTIVES:
Poor air quality has become a national public health concern in China. This study examines the impact of ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution on health behaviors among college students in Beijing, China.

STUDY DESIGN:
Prospective cohort study.

METHODS:
Health surveys were repeatedly administered among 12,000 newly admitted students at Tsinghua University during 2012-2015 over their freshman year. Linear individual fixed-effect regressions were performed to estimate the impacts of ambient PM2.5 concentration on health behaviors among survey participants, adjusting for various time-variant individual characteristics and environmental measures.

RESULTS:
Ambient PM2.5 concentration was found to be negatively associated with time spent on walking, vigorous physical activity and sedentary behavior in the last week, but positively associated with time spent on nighttime/daytime sleep among survey participants. An increase in the ambient PM2.5 concentration by one standard deviation (36.5 μg/m³) was associated with a reduction in weekly total minutes of walking by 7.3 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.3-9.4), a reduction in weekly total minutes of vigorous physical activity by 10.1 (95% CI = 8.5-11.7), a reduction in daily average hours of sedentary behavior by 0.06 (95% CI = 0.02-0.10) but an increase in daily average hours of nighttime/daytime sleep by 1.07 (95% CI = 1.04-1.11).

CONCLUSIONS:
Ambient PM2.5 air pollution was inversely associated with physical activity level but positively associated with sleep duration among college students. Future studies are warranted to replicate study findings in other Chinese cities and universities, and policy interventions are urgently called to reduce air pollution level in China’s urban areas.”

Copyright © 2018 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Is air quality in China a social problem?ChinaPower

“The human and fiscal cost of air pollution is irrefutable. Since 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) has tracked air quality to measure its effect on heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, and other respiratory illnesses. China and India each had 1.1 million air pollution-related deaths in 2015, accounting for half of the world’s total air pollution deaths that year.

Chinese leaders face the difficult choice of prioritizing either economic growth or environmental and social welfare. For the past several years, Beijing has a made a concerted effort to reduce high concentrations of air pollution across China.

An Air Quality Index (AQI) is a measure for reporting the safety level of air in a specific location. The AQI provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses “breakpoints” that correspond to a defined pollution concentration. Breakpoints are scaled between 0 and 500.

How does air quality in China compare with other countries?
Countries with a developed or developing industrial sector often face a tradeoff between rapid economic growth – without the constraints of environmental regulations – or public and environmental welfare measures. This challenge is not a recent phenomenon. Advanced economies, like the UK and Sweden, continue to work toward environmental protection while supporting their economic and industrial sectors. The challenge arguably has greater repercussions for developing countries, as their economic development often depends on industrial output.

Most advanced economies began to regulate air pollution after de-industrialization was already underway. This period coincided with better public awareness of the health consequences of pollution. After the 1952 “Great Smog of London” was estimated to have killed at least 4,000 people, the UK introduced the Clean Air Act of 1956 to restrict emissions. Due to the lack of consistent data, the extent to which the act directly contributed to air-quality improvements is unknown, but the post-1960 difference was dramatic; urban concentrations of smoke fell by 80 percent and sulfur dioxide by 70 percent within 20 years.

In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency introduced the Clean Air Act in 1970, with subsequent amendments in 1977 and 1990. The Clean Air Act established national air-quality standards, and has been associated with reductions in sulfur dioxide and other pollutants, leading to an immediate reduction in infant mortality rates. In 1972, an estimated 1,300 infants survived as a consequence of the Clean Air Act.2 Although the U.S. public has benefited from this regulation, economic losses were incurred during this transition. In the 15 years following the 1970 and 1977 Clean Air Act amendments, it is estimated that American counties found in violation of regulation lost about 590,000 jobs, $37 billion in capital goods, and $75 billion in production.”

For the complete article, please follow the link to the site.

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Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Water Department collaborate on water conservation

Good morning!  Here is some interesting news on the collaboration between the Minerals Council and the Department of Water and Sanitation on the issue of water conservation.

Please remember to follow the links provided if you wish to read the full or the original articles.

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Mining Weekly

“Minerals Council, water dept collaborate on water conservation, demand management project

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and the Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA) have reached a significant milestone in a collaborative exercise on water conservation and water demand management aimed at driving water savings and usage improvements in the mining industry.

The collaboration between the DWS and the MCSA has evolved over several years, with the most recent project being the development of commodity-based national water use efficiency benchmarks to guide acceptable levels of water use and, thereby, drive improvements in water use efficiency.

The project’s output is found in two recently published documents. The first document ‘Guidelines for the Development and Implementation of Water Conservation and Water Demand Management Plans for the Mining Sector’ is based on comprehensive research findings in the second document ‘Benchmarks for Water Conservation and Water Demand Management in the Mining Sector’.

The research was carried out at 39 different mining operations, including coal, gold, platinum, diamonds, chrome, iron-ore, manganese, copper, phosphate, heavy mineral sands and dolomite quarries, besides others, that have been shown, through evaluation of production and water use data, to be representative of the national mining industry. It provides a set of national water use efficiency benchmarks.

One aspect of the value of the study and guidelines is it becomes possible to develop optimal water conservation and water demand management plans and targets based on the mineral being mined and on a range of other relevant factors. There are many climatic, surface and groundwater, mining methods and operational variables that could influence the most optimal water conservation and water demand management opportunities.

Mines will now develop water saving plans based on the guidelines and will report yearly according to specified templates set out in the guidelines.

“This project has firmly reinforced the notion that a great deal of public good can flow from cooperative work between business and government. We hope to hear more in the years ahead about the water savings that will be achieved thanks to these efforts, MCSA CEO Roger Baxter said on Friday.”

EDITED BY: CHANEL DE BRUYN
CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR ONLINE

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Some more on the same subject from Mining Review

“The Department of Water and Sanitation and the Minerals Council South Africa have successfully reached a significant milestone in a collaborative exercise on water conservation and water demand management aimed at driving water saving and usage improvements in the mining industry.

The collaboration between Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA) and the Department of Water and Sanitation has evolved over years with the recent project being the development of commodity-based national water use efficiency benchmarks to guide the acceptable levels of water usage and thereby to drive improvements in water use efficiency.

This work is done in line with the objectives set out in the National Water Conservation/Water Demand Management Strategy (NWC/WDMS), together with the Industry, Power and Mining Sector Strategy as well as the National Water Resource Strategy.

The project’s output is found in two recently published documents.

The first is “Guidelines for the development and implementation of water conservation and water demand management plans for the mining sector”.

The guidelines are based on comprehensive research findings found in the second document: “Benchmarks for water conservation and water demand management in the mining sector”.

The documents can be found at www.dwa.gov.za/Projects/WUE/Documents.aspx on the DWS website (items 3.2 and 3.3) and at www.mineralscouncil.org.za/work/environment/environmental-resources on the MCSA website site.”

For the full article, please click on the link to the site.

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Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Four Bucket DustWatch unit

Training Course Tomorrow!

Just a reminder about the training course in Pretoria – 17, 18, 19 July 2018.

The training will take place at:

Kloof Bed and Breakfast
570 Rutgers Street, Moreleta Park, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Cellphone: +27 (0)82 923 3730 | Facsimile: +27 (0)86 672 6310
E-mail: kloofbb@telkomsa.net | www.Kloofbb.co.za

There is still time!

If you would like to attend or to send a representative, then please email chris@dustwatch.com or call on 021 789 0847 / 082 875 0209 to reserve a place.

The costs for the training – R3028 per person per day, and the course runs for three days. You can also select which days to attend if you do not want to attend all three days.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any queries.

Sincerely
Chris Loans

DustWatch CC – Precipitant Dust Monitoring
082 875 0209 or 021 789 0847 (Chris)
083 308 4764 (Gerry)
0866 181 421 (Fax)
www.dustwatch.com

Soil metals linked with cancer mortality

A couple of interesting articles below regarding the link between soil metals and cancer.

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A study links soil metals with cancer mortality – Medical Xpress
April 23, 2018, Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT)

“Spanish epidemiologists and geologists have found associations between esophageal cancer and soils where lead is abundant. Lung cancer has been associated with high copper content in soil; brain tumors are linked with areas rich in arsenic, and bladder cancer is associated with high cadmium levels. These statistical links do not indicate that there is a cause-effect relationship between soil type and cancer, but they suggest that the influence of metals on the geographical distribution of tumors should be analyzed.

The risk of dying from cancer is not the same in all geographic regions. There are many factors that influence the development of cancer, including the type of soil, since it can harbor heavy metals and semimetals that are carcinogenic for humans. Chronic exposure to these toxic elements, which enter the body via the food chain, could increase the frequency of certain tumors in some territories.

In this context, researchers from the National Epidemiology Center of the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII) and the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME) have jointly assessed the possible statistical association between the concentrations of heavy metals in the soil and mortality by different cancer types. The results have been published in the open access journals Environmental Geochemistry and Health and Environmental Science and Pollution Research International.

The data was extracted from Spain’s Geochemical Atlas, published by the IGME in 2012, as well as from a database with 861,440 deaths from 27 cancer types that occurred in almost 8,000 Spanish municipalities between 1999 and 2008. The data can be extrapolated to the present because the geochemical composition of the soil is stable and the mortality patterns for disease usually do not vary.

The authors have crossed the information of the type of soil and the geographic distribution of the tumors, applying statistical analyses and taking into account the presence of local polluting foci or socio-demographic variables that could interfere in the results. They have found increased mortality in both genders from esophageal cancer in areas with higher concentrations of lead, and lung cancer in areas with high copper levels, among other correlations.

“We have also detected that the highest levels of cadmium, lead, zinc, manganese and copper concentrations in the soil are statistically associated with a higher mortality due to cancers of the digestive system in men,” explains Pablo Fernández, ISCIII researcher and co-author of the paper, “and in the case of women, a higher mortality from brain cancer in those areas with more cadmium content.”

The results also show a relationship between soils with more cadmium and higher mortality from bladder cancer; as well as areas with high concentrations of arsenic and more cases of death from brain tumors. “This research suggests that the geochemical composition of the soil, especially its metals, could be influencing the spatial distribution and mortality patterns of cancer in Spain, regardless of the socio-demographic context,” says Fernández. “The great contribution of this work to environmental epidemiology and public health in general. However, although it is plausible that the contents of toxic elements in the soil, even if they are very small, may be a component in the cancer etiology, the results must be interpreted with great caution, since the relationships found do not allow us to conclude that there is a cause-effect relationship. Our study does not have individual exposure data or information about other very important factors in the origin of cancer, such as tobacco, alcohol consumption or obesity.”

Co-author Gonzalo López-Abente says, “The conclusions move in the field of hypotheses and statistical associations, which will have to be confirmed with future analyses to check whether the composition of the soil itself has its counterpart in the biological markers of humans. In any case, the results are plausible and we could be facing one more component of the cancer etiology.”

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Only the introduction of the article has been posted, please follow the link for the full article

Investigating local relationships between trace elements in soils and cancer data – Science Direct
Authors – Jennifer M.McKinley, Ulrich Ofterdinger, Michael Young, Amy Barsby, Anna Gavind

“1. Introduction
1.1. How environmental factors affect health
Natural trace elements, mineral water and gases (such as radon) are present in the environment and these interact with the human body in both positive and negative ways. As recognised by Paracelsus (1493–1541 AC) “all substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison; the right dose differentiates a poison and a remedy”. Medical geology or spatial epidemiology is concerned with the study of spatial patterns of disease incidence and mortality and the identification of potential causes of disease including environmental exposure or socio-demographic factors (Goovaerts, 2010). To date, the culmination of a broad body of research has recognised a number of potentially toxic elements (PTEs), such as arsenic (As), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), selenium (Se), vanadium (V), uranium (U) and zinc (Zn), known to influence human disease by their respective deficiency or toxicity. As the impact of infectious diseases has decreased and the population as a whole ages, so cancer has become the most common cause of death in developed countries. The risk of developing cancer is recognised as a combination of the person’s genetic makeup and environmental factors usually over long periods of time. Steingraber (2010) describes a study of cancer among adoptees that found correlations with their adoptive families but not within their biological ones. The concept that our genes work in communion with substances from the larger ecological world suggests that what runs in families does not necessarily run in the blood (Steingraber, 2010). Carcinogens fall into three groups—chemical, physical and biological. Chemical carcinogens, the largest group, include tobacco products, asbestos, benzene and the products of tobacco. Biological agents include infections such as Human Papilloma Virus, (HPV) causally linked with cervical cancer, and Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) linked with lymphomas. The best known example of physical carcinogens is high-energy radiation, including nuclear radiation and X-rays. Radiation is known as a ‘complete’ carcinogen because it can initiate, promote and progress a cancer. Chemical carcinogens occur in nature, in mineral ores, such arsenic and others in foods (e.g. fungal contaminants). The history of cancer is long but our recognition of the agents that contribute to its occurrence has been slow to mature. A reflection that external or environmental agents could produce malignant change was noted by Pott, a London physician, in 1775, after observational studies prompted him to link scrotal cancer, common among chimney sweeps, to the soot that accumulated on their bodies (cited in Majno and Joris, 2004). Skin cancer was noted to be prevalent among workers exposed to arsenic fumes in copper smelters and tin foundries in Cornwall and Wales. Workers in cobalt mines in Saxony and the uranium mines in Bohemia were subject to a disease of the lungs later identified as cancer. Many of the causes of cancer including the effects of lifestyle and environmental factors are still not well understood. Investigating the geographical differences in cancer incidence may shed light on variations in cancer risk factors between populations (Carsin et al., 2009).”

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Enjoy your day further!  Chris

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Dust Monitoring Training Course July 2018

Please note that the training course for Pretoria is scheduled for 17, 18, 19 July 2018.

Kloof Bed and Breakfast
570 Rutgers Street, Moreleta Park, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Cellphone: +27 (0)82 923 3730 | Facsimile: +27 (0)86 672 6310
E-mail: kloofbb@telkomsa.net | www.Kloofbb.co.za

Contact Person for accommodation bookings: (Optional – Any accommodation can be used but this is the venue for the training and is recommended)
Erica Lottering
Mobile no: 082 923 3730
Email: kloofbb@telkomsa.net
Website: www.kloofbb.co.za

Please book accommodation if required independently at this venue or an alternative venue. The training will take place at this venue.

Please diarise those dates if you can make it, and RSVP by 1 July 2018 if possible.

If you would like to attend or to send a representative, then please email chris@dustwatch.com or call on 021 789 0847 / 082 875 0209 to reserve a place.

The costs for the training – R3028 per person per day, and the course runs for three days. You can also select which days to attend if you do not want to attend all three days.

Below is a brief outline of the course, although the course will be customised to meet the specific needs of those attending.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any queries.

Sincerely
Chris Loans

DustWatch CC – Precipitant Dust Monitoring
082 875 0209 or 021 789 0847 (Chris)
083 308 4764 (Gerry)
0866 181 421 (Fax)
www.dustwatch.com

______________Course Information________________________________________________
The course has three main topics that will be covered over the three days.
1. Fallout dust monitoring theory (Day 1)
2. Fallout dust monitoring practical (Day 2)
3. Fallout Dust Monitoring Reporting (Day 3)
The fallout dust monitoring section of the course aims to train the trainees so that they are able to do the following.
1. Understand what fallout dust monitoring achieves and what is collected. This will include discussion around the legislative requirements and will also address the possible influences of dust sensitive areas like communities, hospitals, farms, and recreational areas.
2. Prepare buckets, transport buckets and change buckets in the Fallout Dust Monitoring units.
3. Filter the bucket contents using a filter bench and using the related equipment used in the filtering process. This includes advice on how to minimise the filtering time and what can be done when samples are taking very long to filter.
4. Understand how to calculate the fallout dust monitoring results in mg/m2/day and how to interpret these results.
5. Report writing and presentation options for the results will also be discussed.
6. Some computer training may also be included in the course if required.
7. Access to our software for processing of the fallout dust data will also be included after the course. This can be used to simplify the data collection and report writing and will also provide a database of the fallout dust levels over the years.
The course will be presented by Christopher Loans who is a Professional Chemical Engineer with a Masters in Occupational Hygiene focused on the Mining Industry.

Africa has an air pollution problem

Air pollution

Something interesting to read about ………..  Enjoy your day!

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Africa has an air pollution problem but lacks the data to tackle it – University of Pretoria

By – Prof Janine Wichmann

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently launched BreatheLife, a campaign to make people more aware about the fact that air pollution – which it calls the invisible killer – is a major health and climate risk.

‘Invisible’ may refer to the lack of awareness that air pollution is a major health risk. In fact, air pollution levels exceeding the WHO air quality guidelines are often very visible, particularly in developing countries. This is especially true for billions of people living in close contact with air pollution sources. Those who, for example, cook on inefficient stoves with fuels such as coal. Or live in an industrial area.

The WHO has air quality programmes for most of the world’s regions. These review the effects of air pollution on health and help countries develop sustainable air quality policies. But none exists for sub-Saharan Africa. It is not clear why. A possible explanation may be that environmental health risk factors are overshadowed by other risks like malnutrition, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

Despite this, we do know something about the continent’s air pollution levels. In the first major attempt to estimate the health and economic costs of air pollution in Africa, an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report found that air pollution in Africa already causes more premature deaths than unsafe water or childhood malnutrition. It warned that this could develop into a health and climate crisis.

But how bad are air pollution levels in Africa? Which countries have the worst air pollution levels? What are the main sources and drivers of air pollution? Are the main sources and drivers of air pollution different from those on other continents?

The answers to these questions are severely hampered by a lack of data as well as poor regulation and laws in African countries. The only country on the continent that has ambient air quality standards enforced by air quality laws and regulations is South Africa. Other countries have either ambient air quality standards or air quality laws and regulations, or none at all.

What’s known

Air pollution is a complex mixture of many components.

The WHO’s air quality guidelines, as well as country-specific laws, have identified a few air pollutant components: particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometer (PM2.5) and 10 micrometer (PM10) in aerodynamic diameter, sulphur dioxide (SO2), ground-level ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), benzene, lead and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

The most dangerous are PM2.5 and ultrafine particles (UFP); the latter are smaller than 100 nanometer in aerodynamic diameter. PM2.5 and UFP penetrate deeper into the lung alveoli and may pass into the bloodstream. PM10 and PM2.5 are important indicators of long-term air quality and of health risks.

Based on data of ground measurements conducted in 2008-2015, Africa’s PM10 levels are not the highest in the world.

The database is the largest of its kind and covers over 3 000 human settlements – mostly cities – in 103 countries. The number one spot belongs to the Eastern Mediterranean region, followed by the South-East Asia region and then Africa. But the WHO acknowledges numerous limitations to the data sources. Fewer sites globally measure PM2.5, hence the focus is on PM10.

The PM2.5 data based on the WHO air quality model show that the number one spot again belongs to the Eastern Mediterranean region, followed by the South-East Asia region and then Africa. Given the lack of PM2.5 ground measurements in Africa, the PM2.5 data derived from the WHO air quality model for Africa should be viewed with caution.

Where is the air worse in Africa?

It is hard to say what the real picture is. The modelled PM2.5 data supplements the data from ground monitoring networks, especially in regions with no or very little monitoring, as is the case in Africa.

The PM10 data, based on ground measurements conducted between 2008 and 2015, show that all African countries with PM10 data exceeded the WHO annual guideline of 20 microgram/cubic meter (µg/m³).

Onitsha in Nigeria had the highest yearly PM10 level of 594 µg/m³ globally, nearly 30 times higher than the WHO annual guideline. But the quality of the data is questionable. The level for Onitsha is based on PM10 data collected only in 2009 and only at one site. The database also does not mention on how many days the 2009 yearly level is based as missing data can lead to a distorted yearly level. The lowest yearly PM10 level was recorded at Midlands in Mauritius (20 µg/m³). But this is based only on 2011 data collected again at only one site without mention of how many days in 2011 were measured.

It is also difficult to know exactly what the contribution of different sources of air pollution are in Africa.

The amount of air pollution in any given location is affected by a combination of local, regional and distant sources. It is also affected by the dispersion of pollutants, which in turn depends on numerous weather conditions such as wind direction, temperature and precipitation.

A recent review indicated that very few studies in Africa conducted source apportionment of PM2.5 and PM10. The review concluded that (based on the few studies) 17%, 10%, 34%, 17% and 22% of PM2.5 levels in Africa are due to traffic, industry, domestic fuel burning, unspecified source of human origin and natural sources – such as dust and sea salt. For PM10 the corresponding source distribution is 34%, 6%, 21%, 14% and 25%, but should be viewed with caution due to the few studies.

Based on the limited number of PM10 and PM2.5 source apportionment studies in Africa, these tentative conclusions can be drawn. Traffic is a major source of PM10 levels in Africa as in many other global regions. The other two major sources of PM10 in Africa are domestic fuel burning and natural sources. In other regions of the world, industry and the ambiguous ‘unspecified source of human origin’ contribute more.

Domestic fuel burning is the major source of PM2.5 in Africa, followed by traffic and natural sources such as dust. In other regions of the world, traffic, industry and the ambiguous ‘unspecified source of human origin’ contribute more to PM2.5 levels.

Air quality interventions

Regardless of the exact global source contributions, the main sources of air pollution should be tackled globally in management plans and interventions.

Obvious interventions include clean energy technology such as solar power, to minimise domestic fuel burning and emissions from coal-fired power plants. Other initiatives include clean public transport, bicycle lanes to cut traffic emissions, recycling and controls on industrial emissions.

Air pollution does not stop at country or continental borders. It is a major risk factor for climate change. A disregard for air pollution levels in Africa may have a major impact on global climate change in the years to come.”

“Prof Janine Wichmann is an Associate Professor at the School of Health Systems and Public Health at the University of Pretoria.

This article originally appeared on The Conversation.”

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Measuring Africa’s Air Pollution – The New York Times
By Kate Galbraith 2014

“When Jenny Linden, an air quality scientist, tried to measure the pollution in Burkina Faso’s capital city, one of her instruments clogged up. It was designed for road dust in Arizona, but the dust in Ouagadougou far exceeded the machine’s limit, and it had to be sent to the United States for repair.

The instrument “could not take the level of pollutants they had there,” recalled Dr. Linden, who took measurements in Ouagadougou between 2003 and 2007 and is now a research associate in urban climatology at the University of Mainz, in Germany. So intense was the dust, she added, that “you don’t have a cold but you have an irritated nose the whole time.”

Air pollution in Asia and Europe has grabbed headlines. But as Dr. Linden’s experience suggests, the problem is pervasive across Africa as well. Africa is urbanizing quickly, and pollution from sources like vehicle exhaust, wood burning and dusty dirt roads has reached worrisome levels in many cities. Equally or more troubling is air pollution inside homes, caused by cooking with wood or other sooty fuels. But few nations outside South Africa have imposed regulations to address the problem, experts say.

“We do know that in Africa, there’s a very major problem with indoor air pollution,” said Dr. Carlos Dora, an official with the World Health Organization’s Department for Public Health and Environment. Data for outdoor air pollution in cities, he added, is less available and may not capture the scope of the problem.

Dirty air can cause lung damage as well as heart disease, strokes and cancer. Last month the W.H.O. estimated that one in eight deaths worldwide resulted from air pollution. The organization found that air pollution in African homes contributed to nearly 600,000 deaths in 2012. Africa had the third highest level of deaths per capita from indoor air pollution of any region of the world, though it was still well behind areas of the western Pacific region (including China) and Southeast Asia.

The W.H.O. figures for deaths per capita from outdoor air pollution in Africa are well below the world average, but the lack of data is a barrier. Pollution monitoring is minimal on a continent that is mostly focused on other problems. Instruments are expensive, and academics say they often struggle to get grants to study the problem. The W.H.O. assesses outdoor pollution in Africa by drawing from satellite data, inventories of pollution sources, air-current modeling and occasional ground monitors, Dr. Dora said. Continentwide data is stronger than that for individual countries, he added.

In Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, normal levels of fine dust (meaning particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, about 1/30 of the width of a human hair and a significant health threat) are usually five times as high as those in Gothenburg, Sweden, according to Johan Boman, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Gothenburg. The Nairobi pollution doubles near the central business district, he said, reflecting high pollution from vehicle exhaust.

“It’s certainly not as bad as what we see from China,” he said. “On the other hand, in China it’s very much seasonal,” whereas Nairobi, with its relatively stable climate, has less variation.

A survey several years ago by the W.H.O. showed Gaborone, Botswana, as having the eighth-highest level of particulate pollution (particles of up to 10 micrometers in diameter) among a list of world cities. But the W.H.O. stresses that it is an incomplete list, since many cities did not provide data — including some of the most polluted.

The outdoor pollution problem is growing, as more Africans move to cities. Ms. Linden, who did research in Burkina Faso until 2007, said that “the situation is likely worse now” because Ouagadougou’s population has swelled by more than 50 percent since then. Major outdoor sources of pollution include old vehicles; the burning of wood and trash; industrial activities; and even dust from dirt roads, a serious issue in Ouagadougou. In West Africa, a wind called the harmattan adds to the problem in the winter, coating the region in Saharan desert dust.

One recent study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, estimated that Africa could generate 20 percent to 30 percent of the world’s combustion-driven sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by 2030, up from about 5 percent each in 2005. Other pollutants are growing too: Organic carbon from Africa could rise to over 50 percent of the world’s combustion output, from 20 percent, the study said. The authors did their calculations using estimates about fuel consumption, growth and other emissions factors, and warned of “a considerable increase in emissions from Africa” in the absence of regulations.

One of few countries to put regulations in place is South Africa, where ozone and tiny particles are particular worries. Air quality standards went into effect in 2009. Restrictions on particles will tighten in 2015 and 2016, according to Rebecca Garland, a senior researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Pretoria.

Elsewhere, action is lacking as African nations grapple with other problems. Dr. Dora of the W.H.O. said that in countries like China, the pressure to stem pollution comes from businesses, and “from what I know, there’s still not that pressure from businesses in Africa,” he said. However, some leaders are aware of the issue and want to address it, he added.

One initiative that has gotten considerable attention is cleaner cookstoves. The current fuels, including wood, charcoal, animal dung and crop residues, create smoke and soot. The W.H.O. is releasing information soon about how various technologies can improve indoor air pollution. The concept of cleaner cookstoves has been getting high-profile attention; however, some experts caution that some of the new cookstoves may be focused less on reducing air emissions than on other benefits like increased energy efficiency and preventing forest degradation.

“I don’t think anybody’s really demonstrated that they’re clean enough” to play a serious role in improving public health, said Darby Jack, an assistant professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.”

South African Mining Charter

Some news on the progress of the new South African Mining Charter.  Hope you enjoy the articles and have a great day!  Please follow the links to the source of the articles.

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South Africa aims to finalise mining charter in June, minister says – Mining.com
Reuters | May. 15, 2018, 11:18 AM |

“South Africa aims to finalise a third version of a hotly contested mining charter in June, mines minister Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday, later than the government had predicted last month.

The government and miners have been locked in difficult negotiations over the charter, which lays out requirements for black ownership levels and other targets, after the industry opposed revisions proposed by Mantashe’s predecessor.

Agreeing a new version of the charter is seen as instrumental to securing further investment in the mining sector, which new President Cyril Ramaphosa has made a priority.

“We aim to finalise and gazette the mining charter in June, having taken on board inputs and concerns from stakeholders across the country,” Mantashe said in a speech to parliament, a copy of which was distributed by the communications ministry.

Mantashe said in April that he aimed to finalise the charter by May.

South Africa’s mining industry has been grappling for years with depressed prices, outbursts of labour and social unrest and policy uncertainty.

The charter’s controversial areas included raising the target for black ownership to 30 percent from 26 percent.

The industry had challenged the revisions in court but put that judicial process on hold after Ramaphosa appointed Mantashe in February. When the charter is finalised, the industry will be legally required to follow its targets and regulations.”

(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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Ramaphosa vows Mining Charter finalised ‘soon’ – Fin24
May 04 2018 07:56 Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg

“New rules governing black ownership of South Africa’s mining industry will be completed “very soon”, President Cyril Ramaphosa said at a Japan-Africa trade forum in Johannesburg.

“The mining charter will be finalised very soon and we have set a deadline,” Ramaphosa said, without giving details of the timing.

Africa’s most-industrialised country will try to remove “blockages” to investment in a bid to attract as much as $100bn over the next five years, he said.”