Air pollution issues require action from local authorities

RBCAA Managing Director Michelle Boshoff presents her annual report

THE Richards Bay Clean Air Association (RBCAA) continues to provide excellent data relating to air quality in the city and surrounds and is also being well managed in terms of its financial standing.

These positives were shared at the Association’s 20th annual general meeting last week, where only two items of concern were noted.

One is the ongoing concern over hydrogen fluoride (HF) levels. This follows a special monitoring project that began in 2014 when the RBCAA initiated a 12-month HF monitoring campaign in the Richards Bay area at nine pre-selected sites

Highest concentrations were observed at ZCBF Community Park and the CBD Regional Sport Complex

Based on the findings, the RBCAA recommends that no schools or crèches should be allowed to operate immediately northwest of HF emitting industries and that existing facilities should be relocated.

A letter to this effect was sent to the municipality in October 2016, to which a response is awaited.

‘We thank South32 and Foskor for their commitment to this project,’ said RBCAA Managing Director, Michelle Boshoff.

‘We are also still waiting for response from the Department of Environmental Affairs with regard to the Air Quality Monitoring and Health Impact Assessment study of the Richards Bay area, prepared for the then Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development.

ALSO READ: Air pollution caution call

‘Based on an independent peer review by Infotox, commissioned by the RBCAA, the association has lodged an official complaint on the grounds that in its current form the report is fatally flawed and therefore should be discredited at the highest level to prevent it being used as a benchmark for further studies.

‘Internal investigations are underway and the RBCAA is awaiting the outcome,’ said Boshoff.

At the AGM, the following persons were elected to serve on the RBCAA Board of Directors:

• Non-corporate – Sandy Camminga (Founder Member), Zululand Fire Protection Association.

• Companies – Richards Bay Minerals, South32, Mondi, Foskor, Richards Bay Alloys.

It was noted with disappointment that Tronox had withdrawn its membership of the RBCAA.

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  AUTHOR
Dave Savides
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