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live AQI index
|Air pollution level
|Air quality index
| 58* US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Soshanguve is currently 3.1 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Moderate 58 AQI US
|Thursday, Feb 29
Moderate 68 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 1
Moderate 66 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 2
Moderate 61 AQI US
|Sunday, Mar 3
Moderate 69 AQI US
|Monday, Mar 4
Moderate 70 AQI US
|Tuesday, Mar 5
Moderate 66 AQI US
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Soshanguve is a township situated about 30 kilometres north of Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa. It is an acronym for Sotho, Shangaan, Nguni and Venda.
Towards the middle of 2021, Soshanguve was enjoying a period of “Good” quality air with a US AQI reading of just 34. This United States Air Quality Index number is an internationally used set of metrics supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is used to compare different cities throughout the world using comparable standards. It is calculated by using the levels of the six most commonly found pollutants. If figures are not available for all six, the figure is calculated using what data is available. In the case of Soshanguve there were just two records available. PM2.5 was 8.2 µg/m³ and sulphur dioxide was 4.7 µg/m³. These figures are quoted in micrograms/microns per cubic metre. Whilst there is no safe level as far as air pollution goes, there should be no problems with air quality at this level. Windows and doors can safely be opened to allow the fresh air to circulate around the home. All types of outdoor activity can be enjoyed without fear.
The worst month of the year in 2020, was July when the air quality was “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” with a reading of 45.1 µg/m³. For the remaining 11 months of the year, the air quality was “Moderate” with figures between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³. There were no records kept concerning air pollution before 2020 so there is nothing to compare that figure with. The average figure for 2020 was 26 µg/m³ but it is maybe not a true indication due to the restrictions put into place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many private vehicles were not permitted on the roads because their drivers were furloughed and not required to work from their offices. Several non-essential factories and production units were temporarily closed in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
There are two main types of air pollution – ambient air pollution (outdoor pollution) and household (or indoor) air pollution refers to pollution generated by household combustion of fuels (caused by burning fuel such as coal, wood or kerosene) using open fires or basic stoves in poorly ventilated spaces. Both indoor and outdoor air pollution can contribute to each other, as air moves from inside buildings to the outside, and vice versa.
Most of the pollutants come from combustion processes in road traffic, industrial plants and power stations, and from private households. Particulate matter, which is defined as particles with a diameter of no more than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5), is considered to pose the greatest problem. It leads to respiratory disorders, for example, and an increased risk of heart attack, miscarriages and cancer. The solid and liquid particles suspended in the air are called aerosols.
Many aerosols enter the atmosphere when fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum and wood are burnt. These particles can come from many sources, including car exhaust, factories and even wildfires. Some of the particles and gases come directly from these sources, but others form through chemical reactions in the air.
When ozone is closer to the ground, it can be really bad for our health. Ground level ozone is created when sunlight reacts with certain chemicals that come from sources of burning fossil fuels, such as factories or car exhausts. When particles in the air combine with ozone, they create smog. Smog is a type of air pollution that looks like smoky fog and makes it difficult to see.
The city administrators are implementing effective air pollution control plans and measures and are thus improving air quality in the city. The project is analysing the training requirements of employees at city environmental authorities who deal with air quality. The project is also supporting the expansion of urban monitoring networks. Using the data collected by these networks, air pollution control plans and emission inventories are being drawn up and updated. The project is supporting specific initial measures aimed at improving air quality as well as public communication within the cities.
Air pollution in South Africa has reached dangerously unhealthy levels. Twice in the last week residents across several communities in Johannesburg and Pretoria were exposed to high levels of sulphur dioxide (SO2) pollution.
There have been calls for the South African Government to halt all investment in fossil fuels and shift to safer, more sustainable energy sources, such as wind and solar power. They have been asked to abandon plans for installing new coal-fired power stations of 1500 MW capacity scheduled for 2023 and 2027.
While particles with a diameter of 10 microns or less, (PM10) can penetrate and lodge deep inside the lungs, the even more health-damaging particles are those with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, (PM2.5). These particles are so small that 60 of them make up the width of a human hair. PM2.5 can penetrate the lung barrier and enter the blood system. They can increase the risk of heart and respiratory diseases, as well as lung cancer.
Ozone is a major factor in causing asthma (or making it worse), and nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide can also cause asthma, bronchial symptoms, lung inflammation and reduced lung function.
Short-term effects, which are temporary, include illnesses such as pneumonia or bronchitis. They also include discomfort such as irritation to the nose, throat, eyes, or skin. Air pollution can also cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Bad smells made by factories, garbage, or sewer systems are considered air pollution, too. These odours are less serious but still unpleasant.
The long-term effects of air pollution can last for years or for an entire lifetime. They can even lead to a person's premature death. Long-term health effects from air pollution include heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases such as emphysema. Air pollution can also cause long-term damage to people's nerves, brain, kidneys, liver, and other organs.
Some scientists suspect air pollutants cause birth defects. Nearly 2.5 million people die worldwide each year from the effects of outdoor or indoor air pollution.