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Why does the air in South Africa Highveld city smell bad in winter?

People living in South Africa’s largest city Johannesburg have smelled like air rotten eggs. This is not the first time citizens have complained about the head related to air pollution. We asked Rebecca Garland, a climate expert on climate change, to help us identify the causes of the pollution.

How bad is the climate in Johannesburg?

In winter in some parts of South Africa, morning and evening are often marked by extreme air pollution. However, in some cases, it is possible to hear the abuse as some South Africans did in mid-June 2022 in many parts of Gauteng Province. This area is located in what is known as Highveld – a high-rise area in the suburbs where the capital is located like Johannesburg. Industrial Highveld is an industrial city in South Africa.

Pollution levels at Highveld are often high and unacceptable – even when there is no point. The notices are posted on South Africa’s air quality information system. In some places the level of pollution is even higher National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

In the Gauteng region when the air comes from the east or southeast where many industries are located, residents may occasionally smell. In Johannesburg, this is usually done after the wind blows east to south. They can produce hydrogen sulfide (H₂S), which smells like rotten eggs.

There are many sources of hydrogen sulfide, including industrial sources such as petrochemical plants, open-air mines, coal-fired power plants, water treatment plants and water plants. natural sources. But there is still a great deal of uncertainty about understanding the sources of hydrogen sulfide in the region.

During the winter, the rates often exceed national standards at many monitoring agencies across the region. For minimum, 24 hours average standard is 40μg / m³ and the average standard annual is 20μg / m³. Level should be below these figures, when the weather level exceeds these figures, then high air pollution is unacceptable. By designing studies, we see that these higher levels are expanding gafee Highveld.

Some small maintenance It has been seen in a variety of contexts since 2007. But it is not enough to meet national standards.

What is the source of the pollution?

Most of it is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. About 86% of South Africa’s electricity supply is from hot oil. To improve air quality across the region, serious efforts are needed across the region to reduce air pollution. The main areas are a fire station, a factory, a car, a fireplace, solid fuel for cooking and heating and a fireplace.

Getting out of the oil head is the key to improving air quality.

Ground level pollution (air pollution) is usually a time cycle. At Highveld, many pollutants have a high impact in winter. This is due to the climatic conditions of the region. There is little rain in the winter, and the weather is often cool. This can catch contamination on the ground.

Also, air circulates in the area and accumulates pollution. And in winter, crop yields increase because people burn firewood and coal for cooking and heating, there is more heat, dry conditions and dust.

Variations are small solids or liquids in the atmosphere that help let air pollution. They include smoke and dust, as well as small particles produced in the atmosphere by the reaction of gas pollution. Subterranean pollution is an environmental factor global health threats.

Who is most affected?

In South Africa, the combination of other substances, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, as well as other pollutants, is regulated by law. National Ambient Air Quality Standards. These standards are set out to protect human health, since all controlled pollution has a negative impact. effects and health.

The most weakness including those with lung diseases such as asthma and chronic bronchitis, heart disease, infants and children, and over 65 years of age.

Air conditioning is especially bad in places where low energy sources burn hard for cooking or heating because they cannot afford it or are not connected to clean energy. It has been found that the total body mass index in these cities is higher in other cities.

High levels of air pollution across the Highveld region are the basis for a recent decision that upheld the legal rights of indigenous citizens and the environment. for their health.

Collaborative and dedicated action is needed to improve air quality.

READ: JOBURG ‘SULPHUR CLOUD’: Air pollution experts fear ‘Children at risk’

What are the effects on health?

Exposure to air pollution affects people’s health.

South Africa’s average annual average is usually ala than in other parts of the world, such as India. But when pollution levels exceed national standards, there are problems. It is estimated that if good particulate matter were collected annually (20 /g / m³) across the country, there would be 14 000 avoidance of premature death. in 2012.

In general, there are no health effects from hydrogen sulfide though head. As the concentration increases, hydrogen sulfide can be irritating eyes, nose, throat and respiratory system. This happens at levels where an average of 24 hours is available more than 100 pb which is not the case in Gauteng. At higher doses (100 times where people can begin to smell it), hydrogen sulfide can cause headaches and more serious health effects. These levels are rarely reached in the surrounding environment.

South Africa does not have an ambient standard for hydrogen sulfide with only a few stations measured. The state of California regulates average hydrogen sulfide levels per hour at 30ppb lower his head. Estimates at the Highveld gas station that measure hydrogen sulfide have found a high level at levels where the head can be detected, but not at the highest level where health can be. be a strong emotion.

When people smell the pollution, it reveals a problem that is often “invisible”. Many days, pollution levels are greatly elevated by pollution as a rare occurrence even when there is no sense.

Rebecca GarlandAssociate Professor, University of Pretoria

This article is being republished The conversation under Creative Commons license. Read this original essay.

Why does the air in South Africa Highveld city smell bad in winter?

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