The City of Tshwane (CoT) and the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) in South Africa comprise most of the population of Gauteng, the most densely populated Province in South Africa, which is home to 25.8% of the country’s population. Gauteng is also the economic hub of the country. As such, air quality in these two cities has far reaching impacts on public health and the national economy. The GIZ has been assisting the CoT and CoJ administration with their air quality management activities as part of the BMU-funded Integrated Air Quality Management and Climate Change Mitigation project.
Two cities, both alike in air quality
The CoT and the CoJ have similar sources of pollutants, ranging from emissions from near-by power plants, residential fuel burning, motor vehicles to industrial and manufacturing sources. The cities manage air quality through the implementation of air quality management plans (AQMP) and other tools such as by-laws that require partnerships with other departments, such as planning and energy and external stakeholders like GIZ.
Both cities recently reviewed and updated their AQMPs, and some commonalities emerged. Some of them are listed below:
- Ambient monitoring data: It is difficult to assess whether there have been any long-term trends in the data, because of a lack of data availability and variable data quality. To fill the air quality data gap that plagues the continent, both cities have recently deployed – in addition to regulatory monitors – low-cost sensors. The next step is to make the respective data freely available on the SAAQISwebsite.
- Trans-boundary air pollution: Both cities are impacted by pollution emitted outside their respective city limits.
- Residential burning and vehicle emissions have emerged as sources of local concern, which marks a shift from industrial emissions as the major focus of emission reduction strategies.
To ensure that both cities can adequately combat air pollution, examining those commonalities and differences in urban areas is of vital importance.
- City of Tshwane (2019) Air Quality Management Plan
- City of Johannesburg (2019) Draft Air Quality Management Plan