Category: <span>Air Quality</span>

19 May 2022 Media Release: Garden Route District Air Quality Awareness Campaigns have reached more than 60 000 people so far

Media Release: Garden Route District Air Quality Awareness Campaigns have reached more than 60 000 people so far

For Immediate Release
19 May 2022

For the last seven (7) years, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has incorporated air pollution education as part of its community outreach activities. The Air Quality awareness campaign was identified in response to the poor air quality status  of informal settlements during winter seasons. Dr Johann Schoeman, District Air Quality Manager at GRDM, emphasised that the poor air quality status is amongst others sources, caused by fires used for  cooking and heating purposes. In the pictures (below) are school representatives from various schools with their study packs.

With this in mind, a three-year formal tender was advertised for the procurement of services by a training provider to facilitate training at schools within the Garden Route.  The tender was awarded to Mingcele (PTY) Ltd to develop study packs and facilitate the training at Primary Schools until 2024. Mingcele facilitates and manages several community development projects with a special focus on educational training support and environmental awareness.

Further to this, Dr Schoeman explained that the Western Cape Provincial Government Education Department was also approached to address the issue at primary school level. This effort resulted in the Clean Fires campaign now being incorporated as part of the Grade 3 curriculum.  In order to reach as many learners as possible, and being inclusive in its approach, the course material is printed in isi-Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.

The course material covers the following air pollution aspects:

  • What air pollution is;
  • The health effects thereof;
  • What causes air pollution;
  • How you can help to reduce air pollution;
  • How to make a fire;
  • How to make a “cleaner” fire for heating purposes; and
  • How to construct a stove from waste material.

Each participating school receives a study pack with study material -convenient for each teacher. The course material is in line with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and each resource pack consists of full colour posters, an educational game pack, lesson plans, worksheets in all three official languages of the Western Cape, a full colour booklet, a DVD including the lesson plans and worksheets with five plugins for an interactive whiteboard.

Dr Schoeman said: “Since its inception, the project reached most of the primary schools in the Garden Route district. The project is rotated in the region with this year again focusing on the Klein Karoo region. In total, 72 teachers and 2033 learners from 39 schools were reached, amongst others in Oudtshoorn, Uniondale, Volmoed, De Rust, Calitzdorp, Avontuur, Haarlem and Ladismith areas.  GRDM’s officials were involved in the official hand-over of study packs to some of the participating schools.

When determining the current project impact on the receptor environment, Dr Schoeman highlighted: “It is anticipated that four (4) family members per child are reached with a cumulative impact of 8132 community members covered through the project for this year alone”.

The project statistics for the last four years are as follows:

2019: 37 schools and 72 teachers.
2020: 46 schools and 63 teachers.
2021: 66 schools and 151 teachers.
2022: 39 schools, 72 teachers and 2033 learners.

Seventy-two study packs were handed over to the participating schools. For the last 4 years, the project almost reached 60 000 people in the Garden Route.

In closing, Dr Schoeman said: “Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the project is taking place by means of follow-ups through social media (WhatsApp), email communication and completed attendance registers”.  Adding to this he highlighted: “Due to the success of this project and the positive feedback received from the participating schools, the GRDM committed itself for another two years to expand its awareness outreach sessions”.

The GRDM Air Quality Unit encourages the public to contact their office at 044-693 0006 during office hours, for any further information regarding the project.  To learn more about air quality, visit our page at: http://www.gardenroute.gov.za/air-quality/

Feature Image: Bersig Primary School

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10 May 2022 Frequently Asked Questions: Rooikat Recycling Project, Great Brak River

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers: Rooikat Recycling Project, Great Brak River

Click on the questions below to view the answers to frequently asked questions.

1. What is the Rooikat recycling project in Great Brak River?

Rooikat Recycling is developing robust, fit for purpose, thermal depolymerisation technology.  This technology will allow the treatment of waste plastic and tyres to produce a basket of fuels that can be placed in the existing market.

All waste will be delivered to the site directly from designated sources for processing. Waste will be sourced from private companies wishing to reduce their solid waste footprint and reputable waste management entities e.g., recycling companies.  Waste from the public will not be accepted.

2. What is the Garden Route District Municipality’s involvement in the project?

In terms of Section 36(1) of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, Act 39 of 2004 (the Act), metropolitan and district municipalities are responsible for implementing the atmospheric emission licensing system referred to in Section 22 of the Act.

The Garden Route District Municipality is the Air Quality licencing authority for the Rooikat Recycling Project.

The Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Developmental Planning is the competent authority for the Waste Management Licence and the subsequent Environmental Authorisation.

3. Why was an air emissions license issued?

The proposed activity triggers two Section 21 listed activities, Categories 8.1 and 3.4 and subsequently, Rooikat Recycling applied for an Atmospheric Emission License (AEL) on the South African Atmospheric Emission Licencing and Emissions Inventory Portal (SAAELIP).

The application also triggered activity 6 of the NEMA Listing Notice 2 and required Environmental Authorisation and a Waste Management Licence.

A specialist Air Quality Impact Assessment was required in terms of section 38(1)(a) and also a public participation process as per section 38(3) of the Act.

The issuing of the AEL was subjected to Environmental Authorisation as it takes precedence and must inform the AEL decision.

All Section 39 factors (impact factors) were considered in reaching the decision to issue the granting letter (minimum emission standards, ambient standards, pollution caused by the activity and effect on health, environment, best available technology, etc.)

4. What is depolymerisation?

Depolymerisation is a mild form of pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is an established chemical process that breaks down large molecules (plastic and tyres) into smaller molecules (fuel oil) by the application of heat.  Heat is supplied by burning petroleum gas (LPG) and fuel oil in a furnace.  The process uses a closed-loop system to produce oil (fuel oil).  Carbon black and petroleum gas are produced as by-products.  Petroleum gas is used internally as a fuel.  Both fuel oil and carbon black are sold as fuels or chemical feedstock.  The significant emission from the process is the combustion gas produced in the furnace.   All water produced in the process is recycled as cooling water.  Rainwater is contained on the plant and recycled.

5. What are the emissions associated with this process?

The furnace is the main emission source.  Petroleum gas and fuel oil are combusted in a purpose-designed burner in the furnace to provide heat.  The burner is designed to completely combust the petroleum gas and fuel oil to produce carbon dioxide and water, similar to a vehicle’s exhaust gas.  All combustion processes may produce by-products including particulates (black smoke) which are pollutants. To remove pollutants the combustion gas from the furnace is cleaned, by scrubbing with water, before it is released to the atmosphere.  The cleaned combustion gas is the main air emission from the process.  This is in great contrast to the common idea of tyre, plastic or waste burning or incineration.

6. Will tyres and plastic be burned in the process?

No, Garden Route District Municipality will never allow the uncontrolled burning of tyres and waste.  This is illegal.  Burning of plastic or tyres is not permitted as toxic by-products are produced and released into the atmosphere.  The proposed process does not burn tyres or plastic. The process heats tyres or plastic, to elevated temperatures, in an oxygen-free environment.

7. In the Final Bar it is mentioned that further distillation of diesel oil will take place. This changes the plant from a pilot plant to a processing production plant. Was this considered?

Yes, it was considered.  A suggestion from the public participation process was to explicitly include the distillation of oil to produce diesel, as part of the process description for transparency.  Diesel is a product of the distillation process.  The distillation step is not a new process, but a modification to improve an existing process.  There is no change in environmental impact or emission.  The classification of the plant or process is not changed.

Category 2 of the section 21 activities covers the Petroleum Industry, the production of gaseous and liquid fuels as well as petrochemicals from crude oil, coal, gas or biomass.

  • Subcategory 2.1 Combustion Installations
  • Subcategory 2.2: Catalytic Cracking Units
  • Subcategory 2.3: Sulphur Recovery Units
  • Subcategory 2.4: Storage and Handling of Petroleum Products
  • Subcategory 2.5: Industrial Fuel Oil Recyclers

The distillation of diesel is not a listed activity in terms category 2. The proposed activity triggers only 8.1 and 3.4.

The Act in terms of category 8.1 and 3.4 does not make provision for “pilot plants”. The emission limits and special arrangements for the proposed facility fully applies. For example, the installation of a CEMS unit remains a requirement although the application referrers to the proposed facility as a pilot plant.

8. The area is surrounded by many dairy farms, old age homes and tourism venues. Surely the emission of noxious gasses will have a detrimental effect on this pristine area?

The operation of the facility is highly regulated.  The facility must be operated to comply with both the Waste Management and Atmospheric Emission Licences to ensure the operation is not detrimental to the environment.

An atmospheric emission licence must be seen as a regulatory tool which is implemented to ensure compliance and protect the ambient air quality of a specific air space.   The applicant will only be issued with a Provisional AEL. Only if the applicant can prove compliance with the conditions of the Provisional for period of at least 6 months, will a full AEL be considered.  The facility cannot operate without an AEL.

Based on the outcome of the specialist study the activity will not have a significant detrimental effect on the environment, including health, social conditions, economic conditions, ecological conditions or cultural heritage. The assessment made was based on the minimum emission limits as per the categories and the results demonstrated that the emissions will not exceed the limits as per the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (GN1210 of December 2009). International ambient air quality standards were used to compare the results where ambient air quality standards for specific pollutants are not included in GN1210 of December 2009. The study also included the cumulative impact of the surrounding industries (brick factory and pole yard) on ambient air quality.

9. Why is the plant located in Great Brak River and not in another industrial location such as Mossdustria?

This site was chosen based on its zoning and is an existing industrial zone.  This site is zoned Industrial Zone 3.  The other industrial site investigated, including Mossdustria, is zoned Industrial Zone 2.  This site is part of an existing serviced development and is in a disturbed state.   The site is on the existing Mobicast facility, bordered to the north by a sawmill/pole yard and to the south by the Rheebokstene brick factory. The landfill site is also north of the pole yard.

The entire facility, including storage, office, plant and roads has a footprint of approximately 2 100m².  This is relatively small compared to the sizes of the surrounding industries; Mobicast (43 000m²), Rheebokstene (195 000m²), Woodline Timber Industries (163 000m²) and the Landfill site (74 000m²).

As the proposed site is within the existing Mobicast site on a previously disturbed area and will be fully walled/fenced, its impact on the sense of place of the area would be low. The impact on tourism in the area is negligible due to the presence of existing industry surrounding the chosen site.

10. What process was followed to offer the public an opportunity to lodge their concerns aboutthe proposed project?

Public participation is understood to be a series of inclusive and culturally appropriate interactions aimed at providing stakeholders with opportunities to express their views, so that these can be considered and incorporated into the decision-making process. Effective public participation requires the disclosure of relevant and adequate project information to enable stakeholders to understand the risks, impacts, and opportunities of the Proposed Project.

The processes regulating the application for and granting of both Waste Management and Atmospheric Emission Licenses require public participation at various stages and in different forms.  The timing and nature of the public participation is prescribed by the licensing authority and subsequent legislation.

The following public participation processes were performed as part of the application for a Waste Management Licence:

  1. Pre-application Public Participation
  2. Application Public Participation including clarification meetings
  3. Appeal to granting of Waste Management License

The following public participation processes were performed as part of the application for an Atmospheric Emission Licence:

  1. Application Public Participation
  2. Appeal to granting of Atmospheric Emission License

The following was done in terms of the Waste Management License application:

Pre-application: Due to the nature of the project, a pre-application public participation process was undertaken to obtain comments on the proposed project prior to submission of the Draft BAR application.

Application: More than 150 individuals, organisations and authorities registered as interested and Affected Parties. Methods used to inform the public were inter alia: direct notification, advertisements, site notices, availability of draft basic assessment reports and final draft basic assessment reports.  This was also supplemented with:

Clarification Meeting with Representatives of the Resident’s Associations

  • The Rooikat project team was invited to attend a virtual meeting on 23 November 2020 to provide clarity on the proposed project. This meeting was hosted by representatives from the Resident Associations in the area.

Public Participation Feedback Meeting with Interested & Affected Parties

  • The Rooikat project team hosted a virtual meeting on 10 December 2020 to provide feedback on the main comments and concerns raised during the public participation.

Appeal:  The public participation process also allows the public to appeal the Waste Management License and Air Emissions License after the licenses are granted. Appeals were lodged by the public for both licenses post granting. The appeals were reviewed by the respective licensing authorities and the final licenses were granted.

Other public participation processes followed:

  • There was a parallel Public Participation process in terms of the Air Quality Act which was done according to the requirements of the Air Quality act.
  • Furthermore, a presentation was done to the Mayor of Mossel Bay and was open to the public with a special link. Question and answer sessions were allowed.
  • Media 24 also approached Mossel Bay and Garden Route District Municipalities to produce a video. They interviewed and published a video on their network after interviewing some of the relevant role-players of the project.  Not all role-players chose to be interviewed.
  • The project was presented to the Garden Route Council and a resolution was approved to communicate the project further by means of this question and answers press release to inform the community accordingly.

11. What assurance does the public have if the projects do not live up to the expectations of not affecting the receptor environment?

The facility must be operated to comply with both the Waste Management and Atmospheric Emission Licences to ensure the operation is not detrimental to the environment.  The facility cannot operate without these licenses.

The facility is required to measure and report on its operation to the Licensing Authorities.  The Licensing Authorities also conduct inspections.  The Garden Route Municipality will ensure that the applicant operates within the regulations of the Atmospheric Emission License.  Should the facility not operate within the license conditions, the license may be withdrawn and the facility shutdown.  This has happened to another operating entity in the Garden Route District Municipality in the recent past.

For Air Quality-related queries and assistance, contact Dr Johann Schoeman (Manager: District Air Quality) via e-mail: jschoeman@gardenroute.gov.za 
Learn more about Air Quality here: Air Quality

All media-related queries can be directed to Herman Pieters (Chief Communications Officer), e-mail: communications@gardenroute.gov.za

Photo credit: Istock.

10 May 2022 Media Release: Garden Route Air Quality complies 100% with NAEIS

Media Release: Garden Route Air Quality complies 100% with NAEIS

For Immediate Release
10 May 2022

The National Atmospheric Emission Inventory System (NAEIS) is an internet-based emissions reporting system that is a component of the South African Atmospheric Emission Licencing and Inventory System (SAAELIP) portal. The Air Quality Unit of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) must ensure that regulated industries, as well as authorities, report atmospheric emissions annually between January and March. This is completed to ensure that a national atmospheric emission inventory profile is in place.

According to Dr Johann Schoeman, Manager: Air Quality: “For the 2022 reporting cycle, GRDM had 37 facilities registered, of which all of them submitted their reports on the system before 31 March 2022. This ensured that the GRDM received a 100% submission rate.” Dr Schoeman says the 100% submission rate was achieved because of “relentless assistance to the industry”. The guidance is provided to the industry through special NAEIS completion target-group sessions, appointments, and personal assistance.

The NAEIS is aimed at providing accurate, current, and complete information on all significant sources of identified atmospheric emissions. This includes greenhouse gas emissions from South Africa. The information is used to inform policy formulation, for the Republic of South Africa to meet its obligations under the United Framework Convention on Climate Change and any other international treaties.

WHO SHOULD REPORT TO NAEIS?

Three groups of data providers are required to report to NAEIS, as listed below:

  • Listed activity in terms of Section 21(1) of the National Environment Management: Air Quality Act 39 of 2004 (the Act).
  • Controlled emitters: Section 23(1) of the Act.
  • Mines: Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (Act No. 28 of 2002).

ARE THERE ANY PENALTIES FOR NOT REPORTING INTO NAEIS WITHIN THE PRESCRIBED PERIOD? WHAT IS THE FINE FOR NON-COMPLIANCE?

A person guilty of an offence in terms of NAEIS Reporting Regulations is liable, in the case of a first conviction, to a fine not exceeding R5 million. A person can also be imprisoned for up to five (5) years. In the case of a second or subsequent conviction, a person can receive a fine not exceeding R10 million or be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

National Emission Reporting regulations that prescribe NAEIS reporting can be downloaded from https://www.environment.gov.za/legislation/actsregulations.

Feature Image: Dr Johann Schoeman (Manager: District Air Quality Management), , Anelisa Fuzani (Environmental Health Practitioner), Sam Bendle (Chief: Municipal Health Services – Mossel Bay), Angus Andries (District Air Quality Officer)

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05 February 2022 Media Release: Algae in Blind River, Dana Bay

Media Release: Algae in Blind River, Dana Bay

For Immediate Release
5 February 2022

Please note that the blackish residue in the Blind River, Mossel Bay, is caused by algae growth. Algae often decompose alongside riverbanks and look similar to oil residue.

Samples last year that were lab-tested, confirmed that it was algae.

Cape Nature was also contacted, and they confirmed the natural cause of algae and organic material decomposition that looks like blackish oil residue. This is eminent in water sources alongside the garden route lakes areas.

For air quality-related queries and complaints, contact the GRDM Air Quality office for any applicable air quality complaints under the GRDM jurisdiction.

The office number is 044-693 0006 during office hours (Monday – Thursday, 07:30 – 16:30; Fridays from 07:30 – 13:30).
Dr Johann Schoeman
Manager: District Air Quality Control
jschoeman@gardenroute.gov.za
Tel: +27 (0)44 693 0006 | +27 (0)84 317 9167
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14 January 2022 Media Release: Garden Route Air Quality remains tops

Media Release: Garden Route Air Quality remains tops

For Immediate Release
14 January 2022

“Humankind faces its greatest existential threat in the form of climate change” – President Cyril Ramaphosa, 2020 State of the Nation Address

Climate change refers to long-term changes in weather patterns and temperatures. Such shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. Climate change has been primarily driven by human activities since the 1800s, particularly through the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. Fossil fuel combustion produces greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket around the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures.

Climate change and air quality are closely related. Some of these emissions are not only of concern, but they often come from the same sources. Furthermore, air pollution and climate change interact in complex ways in the atmosphere. Increasing levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) alter the energy balance between the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface, altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere.

Examples of developments that will result in the release of GHG`s include:

  • Electricity generation facilities that utilize fossil fuels.
  • Industrial developments that contribute to atmospheric emissions.
  • The extraction and production of fossil fuels.
  • The development and related operations of feedlots.
  • Clearing of vegetation and where it is replaced by built infrastructure such as roads, airports, and urban development.
  • Waste disposal facilities.
  • Treatment of waste through burn technologies.

In October 2011, the Government of South Africa published the National Climate Change Response White Paper, which details the Government’s vision for an effective response to climate change and a just transition to a climate-resilient, lower-carbon economy and society. The Minister has promulgated the National GHG Reporting Regulations. The purpose of these Regulations is to introduce a single national reporting system for the transparent reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, which will primarily be used to: Inform policy formulation, implementation and legislation.

“The Garden Route District Municipality recognises climate change as a threat to the environment, its residents, and its future development,” says Dr Johann Schoeman, District Manager: Air Quality. Böckmann (2015) states that measures should be taken to reduce or eliminate carbon emissions or enhance greenhouse gas sinks (mitigation). However, due to lag times in the climate and biophysical systems, the positive impacts of past and current mitigation will only be noticeable in the next 25 years (Jiri, 2016). In the meantime, adaptation is seen as an inevitable and necessary response to the changes projected in the district. Garden Route District Municipality has therefore prioritised the development of a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Climate Change Response Plan.

The Air Quality status of the Garden Route

Air Quality in the Garden route is managed through its 3rd generation Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP). Our Air Quality vision is: To have air quality worthy of the name “The Garden Route”

“The GRDM is one of the front-running municipalities with regards to Air Quality management in South Africa,” said Schoeman.

Air pollution is an increasing risk, and it is estimated that more than 7 million people die worldwide because of air pollution. it is due to this risk that the GRDM for the last 6 years intensified its air pollution awareness through its GRDM Clean Fires campaign, focussing on air pollution awareness at the primary school level.

The Garden Route is a fast-developing zone with people all over South Africa migrating to the district. This will ultimately also lead to increased industrial activity and more pressure on the environment. Within the Western Cape Provincial contexts, GRDM issued 21% of the total number of Atmospheric Emission Licences within the Western Cape, with only the City of Cape town issuing more licences than the GRDM.

Garden Routers is fortunate to have three Provincial Air Quality monitoring stations, which are located strategically within the district. Their placement is based on potential hazardous sources of pollution. These stations are complemented by monitoring stations operated by the industry as well as air quality monitoring activities done by the Garden route district municipality. The George station is also reporting live to the South-African Air Quality Information System (SAQIS).

In general, the pollution measured at these stations are in compliance with the Ambient Air Quality standards of South Africa and the Garden route can still be regarded as a district with very good air quality. The public can access the data on the SAQIS- system. There is excellent cooperation between GRDM and Industry and many emissions reduction programmes and improved technology projects have been implemented to mitigate the harmful effect of air pollution.

Goals 3 and 4 of the GRDM Air Quality Management Plan focus on Climate change response (CCR). The following tasks are envisaged under this objective relating to CCR:

  • Determining the types and quantity of fuels used in households
  • Continue the Clean Fires campaign at schools
  • Refine the emissions inventory to include household emissions
  • Identify the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions within the GRDM
  • Engage with these contributors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and acknowledge those who take effective steps
  • Assist local municipalities to amend by-laws to affect emissions limits on unlicensed industries that emit greenhouse gasses.

The importance of air quality on the quality of life is often overlooked due to a lack of understanding of the impact that poor air quality has on the health and wellbeing of the community. The GRDM AQMP will continue to prioritise protecting vulnerable communities against exploitation.

Feature image: Air quality sensor

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13 August 2021 Public Notice: Noise Disturbance Advisory, Mossel Bay (13-15 August 2021)

PUBLIC NOTICE: NOISE DISTURBANCE ADVISORY,
MOSSEL BAY (13 – 15 AUGUST 2021)

Starting this afternoon (Friday 13 August 2021 until 15 August 2021), PetroSA Voorbaai Tank Farm (TK 109D) will be emptying one of its tanks at Voorbaai using air pumps. There are no risks associated with the activity other than noise disturbance in the Voorbaai and Bayview areas.

PetroSA apologises in advance for any inconvenience caused and would like to thank the public for their patience during this time.

MG Stratu
Municipal Manager
54 York Street
PO Box 12
GEORGE
6530

Tel: 044 805 5071 (after-hours)

NOTICE NO: 68/2021

10 June 2021 Media Release: Garden Route Clean Fires Campaign reach expands year-on-year

Media Release: Garden Route Clean Fires Campaign reach expands year-on-year

10 June 2021
For Immediate Release

For the last seven (7) years, Garden Route District Municipality has incorporated air pollution as part of its community awareness-raising activities. The project was identified due to poor air quality, especially in informal settlements. This pollution is often caused by fires used for household purposes, such as cooking and heating.

The peer education project was first launched in the Klein Karoo in 2014 and was later rolled out in the rest of the Garden Route. The project advanced over the last three years, where the focus was shifted to primary school learners. More communities are being reached when primary school learners are educated.

Dr Johann Schoeman, Manager: District Air Quality Control at GRDM, said, “The municipality awarded a three-year tender to Mingcele Africa NPC.  Mingcele facilitates and manages community development projects with a special focus on educational training support and environmental awareness”. Adding to this, he said: “The Western Cape Education Department was approached whereby the Clean Fires campaign is now incorporated as part of the Grade 3 curriculum”.

The course material covers the following air pollution aspects:

  • what air pollution is;
  • the health effects thereof;
  • what causes air pollution;
  • how you can help to reduce air pollution;
  • how to make a fire;
  • how to make a “cleaner” fire for heating purposes; and
  • how to construct a stove from waste material.

Each participating school receives a study pack with the course material that is very convenient to the teacher. The course material is in line with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), are printed in English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans, and each resource pack consists of:

  • Six printed posters;
  • A game pack to learn about pollution and the environment;
  • Five lesson plans; and
  • Five worksheets in English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans.

(Lesson plans and worksheets are all bound in a full-colour booklet DVD with five plug-ins for an interactive whiteboard).

This year alone, 66 schools in the Garden Route participated in the programme – that is, 115 teachers and 4400 children. It is anticipated that four family members are reached per child with a cumulative impact of 17 600 community members reached through this project for this year alone.

The project statistics for the last three years are as follows:

  • 2019: 37 schools and 72 Teachers;
  • 2020: 46 schools and 63 Teachers; and
  • 2021:  66 schools and 151 Teachers.

For the last three years, the project almost reached 50 000 people in the Garden Route district.

Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the project occur through follow-ups and communication through two-way social media channels and attendance registers.

Due to the success of this project and the positive feedback received from the participating schools, the GRDM committed itself for another three years and a new tender was subsequently advertised for the continuation of the project.

As at Wednesday, 9 June 2021, the sixty-six (66) schools in the district have already received their study packs.

For any further information on the project, please contact Dr Johann Schoeman or Mr Angus Andries at: jschoeman@gardenroute.co.za or 044 693 0006.

Feature image: Study packs ready for distribution to schools in the Garden Route district.

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10 June 2021 Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality establishes a dispersion modelling function

Media Release: Garden Route District Municipality establishes a dispersion modelling function

For Immediate Release
10 June 2021

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) recently procured the Enviman AERMOD (Air Quality Dispersion Modelling) software programme that enables the GRDM Air Quality Unit to conduct dispersion modelling studies. This is a new initiative to expand the scope of work of the GRDM Air Quality Officers.

According to Dr Johann Schoeman, GRDM Manager: Air Quality: “Air dispersion modelling is defined as a series of mathematical simulations of how air pollutants disperse in the ambient atmosphere. It is performed with computer programs that solve the mathematical equations and algorithms which simulate the dispersion of pollutants.”

Dr Schoeman says AERMOD is also listed as an approved dispersion model in the Regulations that governs Dispersion Modelling, 2014, Government Notice R533. Thus, the program allows for creating air quality maps for comparison against national guidelines and limit values.

The application of this software will assist the Air Quality unit in dealing with air quality complaints. It predicts the emissions and effect of a specific source on a particular residency, depending on real-time weather data availability. For example, suppose a person phones the GRDM to complain about the smoke from a stack of Facility X. In that case, the GRDM can execute a theoretical predication of the dispersion by entering the real-time weather data and stack parameters, and the model will determine the concentrations at the complainant’s residency. GRDM can then determine if the complaint is indeed justified by comparing it with the National Ambient Air Quality standards.

The GRDM can also determine the air quality impact of area sources such as landfill sites on communities. The below dispersion model for Methane was done for the proposed GRDM Landfill site in Mossel Bay, based on the predicted landfill volumes during year one and the historical weather data for Mossel Bay over the last three years.

The programme can also determine various percentile equations to determine a specific source’s worst-case scenario on a community. The 99 percentile, for example, predicts the highest concentration of a pollutant for 1% of the year. This is demonstrated in the picture below.

Feature image: Average hourly period concentrations for Methane from the proposed Landfill site in Mossel Bay computed over a year. As can be seen in both examples, the methane concentrations are insignificant and will not cause any harm to the community. 

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26 March 2021 Media Release: Garden Route at the top of its game in controlling air quality

Media Release: Garden Route at the top of its game in controlling air quality

For immediate release
26 March 2021

Garden Route district continues to achieve 100% submission of NAEIS reports

The “National Atmospheric Emission Inventory System” or “NAEIS” is an internet-based emissions reporting system, which is a component of the South African Atmospheric Emission Licencing and Inventory System (SAAELIP) portal. NAEIS allows for regulated industries, as well as authorities to report atmospheric emissions from all sectors for compiling a national atmospheric emission inventory profile. NAEIS is legislated through the National Emission Reporting regulations that prescribe NAEIS reporting.

“Emission inventory means an accounting of the amount of pollutants discharged into the atmosphere and it contains the total emissions for one or more specific greenhouse gases and air pollutants originating from all sources in a certain geographical area and within a specified time span, said Dr Johann Schoeman, Manager: District Air Quality Control.NAEIS is a web-based atmospheric emissions monitoring and reporting system that is aimed at providing accurate, current and complete information. It includes all significant sources of identified atmospheric emissions, including greenhouse gas emissions from South Africa. NAEIS uses a single national reporting system of atmospheric emissions, which includes:

  • Informing policy formulation;
  • Meeting obligations as a country, under the United Framework Convention on Climate Change and any other international treaties to which it is bound; and
  • The establishment and upkeep of a National Emission Inventory Profile.

To comply with the reporting regulations, facilities must report emissions from each preceding year. This is made possible when the NAEIS system is opened for reporting from 1 January to 31 March annually. To ensure that this is done, the GRDM Air Quality unit arranged training sessions for its industries since the inception of NAEIS reporting in 2015 to assist stakeholders with reporting on the NAEIS system. Since the start, the Garden Route district collectively achieved a 100% submission of NAEIS reports although the National target currently stands at 90%.

This 100% submission rate is achieved through relentless assistance to our industry. “We guide the industry through special NAEIS completion target-group sessions, appointments and personal assistance,’ said Dr Schoeman.

“Most of the larger industries also have the capacity to appoint consultants to assist them with NAEIS reporting. We therefore focus on the smaller industries that do not have the capacity to do the reporting.”

Dr Schoeman further explained: “Within the Garden Route district, we have 37 facilities that have to report on NAEIS. With a week remaining, we already achieved a 70% submission rate with 26 Facilities that already submitted their NAEIS reports. We are in the process of reminding and assisting those that are busy with their NAEIS reports to do their submissions before 31 March 2021.”

The GRDM’s Air Quality section is sure that another 100% submission rate will be achieved for 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic made it challenging for both Industry, as well as the Air Quality Officers, because additional to compliance with Covid-19 protocols were added to daily tasks. Despite these challenges, the GRDM used innovative means to achieve its goals and objectives. After the NAEIS reporting cycle, authorities have to audit the NAEIS report, after which the National Department does National verifications.

For more information on the South African Atmospheric Emission Licensing and Inventory Portal (SAAELIP) go to:
https://saaelip.environment.gov.za/saaelip/home/

ENDS

10 February 2021 Media Statement: Oil smell and possible oil pollution in Dana Bay

Media Statement: Oil smell and possible oil pollution in Dana Bay

For Immediate Release
10 February 2021

Community members recently raised concerns via social media regarding possible oily residue in the Blinde River and areas reeking of oil in Dana Bay.  An inspection was subsequently done at the Blinde River on 10 February 2021 at around 13:15. Results of the inspection indicate that the blackish residue is most likely from algae growth in the river.

Algae often loosens up and decomposes alongside river banks and is in this case visibly darker in colour, similar to oil residue. PetroSA, who also visited the Blind River also confirmed this finding. However, samples were taken and sent for lab tests to confirm this statement. Furthermore, it was also confirmed that there was no oily smell from the black algae residue in the River or in Dana Bay.

The oily smell during the night is most likely residing from the PetroSA Gas To Liquids (GTL) refinery and specifically from an oil spill that occurred at the end of 2020 in two storm water ponds located adjacent to the N2. This incident was subsequently communicated to community members.

The respective case officers from National and Provincial level have been informed and are currently busy with applicable administrative action to resolve this issue. Over the short term, a solution is to clean the affected ponds, which is already underway. While the long-term solution is to upgrade the applicable unit to prevent spillages going forward. Further details about such clean-up operations need to be directed to the relevant authority, i.e. PetroSA.

The fact that the smells are more eminent during early morning hours is just that at that time of the morning, weather conditions are normally stable with dispersion conditions favouring air pollution. As soon as the temperature rises and the wind picks up, the smells gets dispersed.

Provincial air quality monitoring stations are located in George, Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn. The concentrations of pollutants measured at the Mossel Bay station continues to comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Furthermore, the listed activities in the Garden Route are monitored through their respective Atmospheric Emission Licences and any non-compliance will continue to be addressed through administrative action.

Mossel Bay residents are further informed that PetroSA management has opted in for an open line of communication with the public. Residents are therefore urged to contact the PetroSA Shift Manager at 044- 601 2531 to lodge a complaint which will be subsequently investigated.

The public is also welcome to contact the District Air Quality office for any applicable air quality complaints under the GRDM jurisdiction. The office number is 044-693 0006 during normal office hours (Monday – Thursday, 07:30 – 16:30; Fridays from 07:30 – 13:30).

Dr Johann Schoeman
Manager: District Air Quality Control
jschoeman@gardenroute.gov.za
Tel: +27 (0)44 693 0006 | +27 (0)84 317 9167

ENDS