SA air quality info goes online

25 March 2010

South Africans now have easy access to the latest information on air quality and pollution from testing stations around the country, via a new interactive website launched by the Department of Environmental Affairs.

Launched at the South African Weather Service offices in Pretoria this week, the South African Air Quality Information System (SAAQIS) allows all reporting stations to verify their data and feed it directly into the system.

The system will contain the latest updated data of a location, and can give the status of air quality or pollution according to the chosen day and time when checked on the website.

The department’s National Air Quality Officer, Peter Lukey, said the country can now assess whether its air quality is improving and identify areas where potential air problems exist.

He said the country would now have universal access to a large and growing portion of South Africa’s ambient air quality data in a useful and understandable format.

“For the first time, we have universal access to tools that facilitate the generation of tailor-made ambient air quality information graphs for decision makers and decision shapers.

“We now have access to all available air quality legislation, progress reports and information on the priority areas,” said Lukey.

The website also contains air quality related documents for download, such as government gazettes, legislation, presentations, reports, as well as government projects.

Currently, there are 95 government air quality monitoring stations, with 42 reporting live to the system. Most of the testing stations are from networks belonging to spheres of government, including those of Mpumalanga province and the metropolitan municipalities of Johannesburg, Tshwane and eThekwini.

The department is in discussions with other parties that conduct air quality testing in the country in order to get them to join the network.

SAinfo reporter and BuaNews

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