To get an idea of the importance of Atmospheric Emission Licenses, take a look at some recent news headlines regarding air pollution: “Air Pollution Is Linked to a Diabetes Marker”, “Air Pollution Kills 20 000 Per Year In South Africa” and “Air Pollution Costs Trillions And Holds Back Poor Countries”.

In South Africa, one of the tools for controlling air pollution is the Air Quality Act, 39 of 2004 (AQA). This legislation requires that any operation producing air pollution – which in terms of the Act is referred to as an atmospheric emission – must ensure that they have in place an effective air quality management plan. Certain industries have been documented as carrying out “listed activities”, in which case they need to apply for an Atmospheric Emission License (AEL). These Section21 listed activities cover (amongst others):

  • Combustion installations
  • Petroleum industry
  • Carbonisation and coal gasification
  • Metallurgical industry
  • Mineral processing, storage and handling
  • Organic chemicals
  • Inorganic chemicals
  • Disposal of hazardous and general waste
  • Pulp and paper manufacturing
  • Animal matter processing.

Companies operating listed activities need to have an Atmospheric Emission License in order to operated. The authorities issuing these licenses may require more information in conjunction with applying for and maintiaining an AEL:

  • Air Quality Impact Assessments (AQIA) employ a number of air quality modelling and monitoring techniques to calculate emissions and impacts emanating from sources. These may be undertaken for existing or planned activities..
  • Emission, or stack, monitoring follows specific test methods and protocols for emission measurement and sampling of emission concentrations which are pollutant specific and sometimes industry specific.  Results are used in AEL applications, dispersion modelling , and compliance reports.
  • Dispersion modelling uses computer software to calculate an algorithm simulating how pollutants in the ambient atmosphere disperse and, in some cases, how they react in the atmosphere. Dispersion models are used to predict pollutant concentrations at receptors, to guage the impact of emissions.
  • Air Quality Management Planning (AQMP) help to diminish air quality impact. It involves a cycle of determining ways to reduce emissions, developing control strategies, implementing programmes and continuing on-going evaluations of whether your targets have been met.

For more information or to book a consultation with Gondwana Environment Solutions, contact us today.