The Coega Development Corporation (CDC), already a leading Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) in South Africa, now aims to break new ground in environmental management within IDZs by developing an air dispersion model, it announced today.
Using existing baseline data from three active air quality monitoring stations, the CDC can manage where investors are placed in the IDZ with the objective of minimising the impact on air quality across the IDZ and on nearby communities.
In this way, the CDC is going the extra mile to ensure there is limited air pollution within the IDZ.
Earlier last year, the CDC identified the need to ensure that the effect of emissions from tenants’ activities within the IDZ does not exceed the official ambient air quality standards, or pose a health and/or environmental risk to the region.
Even though the CDC has established air quality monitoring stations on its 11 500ha land – which encompasses 14 sector-orientated sub-zones – it is making use of the air dispersion model to manage air quality and ensure compliance with National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act (AQA) No 39 of 2004.
A national framework for the AQA is required to achieve objectives and all state organs must give effect to it when acting in terms of the AQA.
The norms and standards of the framework are for: Ambient air quality; the control of emissions from source; air quality monitoring; air quality management planning; and air quality information management.
Andrea Shirley, environmental manager at the CDC, said, “A suitable modelling process will give the CDC the ability to determine the effect of proposed activities to assist decision making on the desirability of proposed investors. This will allow the screening of prospective investors to determine the effects of their air emissions on the ambient air quality in the IDZ and surrounding areas.”
The emissions inventory used to develop the air dispersion model, gives the total emissions of various pollutants and contains all notable existing sources both outside the IDZ, but within the five kilometre radius, and within the IDZ boundary.
Shirley, added that “as Coega IDZ landlords we have to ensure that the developers do not exceed pollution levels set nationally. If our tenants are not compliant, we are not compliant with the environmental legislation.”
Examples of air pollutants monitored by Coega’s air quality monitoring stations include Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), PM10 particulates, sulphur dioxide (SO2); and Carbon Monoxide (CO). These pollutants pose a risk to ambient air quality, although low.
“The CDC identified the need for comprehensive dispersion modelling to determine the cumulative impact of air pollutant emissions from new industrial investors to the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).”
Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC head of marketing and communications, said the air monitoring system “is a unique way to use legislation to mould business development and to reduce the impact on the environment”.
“What is more, we are able to protect local communities and ensure that the Coega IDZ maintains the highest standards and best practices, which in turn enhances our attractiveness to investors wanting to be associated with global standards of good business activity,” he added.
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