The air quality act of South Africa (NEM: AQA Act No. 39 of 2004) shifted the focus of air quality management from source-based control to receptor-based impact. This transition was aligned with the Constitution of South Africa to provide an environment that is not harmful to health of persons living in South Africa.

To promote this Constitutional right, the NEM: AQA provided the framework to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and a comprehensive list of activities that require licensing, due to their potential for negative impact on the environment.

The NAAQS (GN 1209 of 2009) provides the emission limits for priority pollutants that include; sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 10 micron meters (PM10), ozone (O3), benzene (C6H6) and lead (Pb). In recognition of the negative health impacts associated with particulate matter with and aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 micron meters, the NAAQS was amended in 2012. In an attempt to achieve the NAAQS, a priority list of activities were identified as high pollutant emitters.

The Listed Activities were initially legislated in 2010 (GN 248) and subsequently amended in 2013 (GN 893). These listed activities cover a ten broad categories, combustion installations; petroleum industries; carbonization and gasification; metallurgical industry; mineral processing, storage and handling; organic chemicals industries; inorganic chemicals industries; thermal treatment of hazardous and general waste; pulp and paper manufacturing industries; and animal matter processing. Emission limits for the pollutants of concern have been identified for each of these activities. Any activity identified as a Listed Activity is required to apply for an Atmospheric Emission License (AEL). Furthermore, each activity may be subjected to monitoring requirements. By controlling the emissions from these activities on local to regional scale, the NAAQS may be achieved on a National scale.   

If you are currently involved in, or planning to start a business in South Africa classified as a Listed Activity, then you will need to ensure that you adhere to the South African air quality requirements. Through adherence, you will be contributing to improving the air quality within your region.

Environmental consultants like Gondwana Environmental Solutions are able to assist you in monitoring air pollution, applying for Atmospheric Emission Licences, and overall management of air quality. We use advanced tools like dispersion modelling software, the latest legislation and current best practices to ensure that your individual challenges are resolved through a tailor-made solution. If you have a case that you want us to pursue, then contact our environmental experts today.