|2||East London, Eastern Cape|
|4||Bojanala Platinum, North West|
|7||Cape Town, Western Cape|
|9||Saldanha, Western Cape|
|10||Bloemfontein, Free State|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 63 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 17.9 µg/m³|
|PM10|| 35.9 µg/m³|
|O3|| 45.4 µg/m³|
|NO2|| 2.9 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Sasolburg air is currently 1 times above WHO exposure recommendation
|Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
|Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exercise|
|Thursday, Jun 17|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 148 US AQI
|Friday, Jun 18|
Unhealthy 151 US AQI
|Saturday, Jun 19|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 114 US AQI
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 107 US AQI
|Monday, Jun 21|
Unhealthy 159 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jun 22|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 127 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jun 23|
Moderate 76 US AQI
|Thursday, Jun 24|
Moderate 93 US AQI
|Friday, Jun 25|
Moderate 59 US AQI
|Saturday, Jun 26|
Moderate 69 US AQI
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Sasolburg is a large industrial city within the Metsimaholo Local Municipality in the far north of the Free State province of South Africa. According to a 2011 census, Sasolburg had an estimated population of approximately 153,000 people. The town was established by the Sasol Company in 1954 as a way of providing housing for its employees.
Towards the middle of 2021, Sasolburg was going through a period of “Moderate” quality air with a US AQI reading of 74. 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 the air quality in 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 all available, the figure is calculated using what information there is. For Sasolburg, five recordings were taken which were as follows: PM2.5 - 23.1 µg/m³, PM10 - 38.2 µg/m³, ozone (O3) - 2.7 µg/m³, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - 10.7 µg/m³ and sulphur dioxide (SO2) - 10.7 µg/m³. These figures are all quoted in micrograms/microns per cubic metre.
With the air pollution at this level, the advice would be to stay inside as much as possible and close doors and windows to prevent the spread of more dirty air. Those of a sensitive disposition should avoid outdoor activity unless it is absolutely essential, then a good quality mask must be worn at all times. The table which is published at the top of this page will help you see when it is less risky to venture outdoors.
Air pollution can be very volatile and, as such, can change very quickly depending on many variables, such as wind speed and direction and the strength of sunlight.
Looking back at the figures published by the Swiss air monitoring company IQAir.com for 2020 it can be seen that the months of June and July brought the worst air quality for the year with readings from the “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” category with figures of 42.3 µg/m³ and 38.7 µg/m³. Being in the southern hemisphere, these are two of their colder winter months. The remaining ten months of the year brought “Moderate” air quality with figures between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³.
Records of air quality were first kept in 2019 when the average reading was 31.4 µg/m³ followed by a drop the following year to 25.6 µg/m³. However, this may not be an accurate reading because of the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many vehicles were no longer used as the drivers were furloughed and not required to commute to and from work on a daily basis. There were also many factories and other non-essential production units which were temporarily closed in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus. It may be different once things get back to normal.
Sasol has announced that some of its South African plants are under threat due to the standards for sulphur dioxide emissions that they must meet by 2025. The company, South Africa's largest in terms of revenue, operates plants that convert coal into motor fuel and chemicals in Secunda, east of Johannesburg, and in Sasolburg, south of Johannesburg. The flue gas desulphurisation equipment, which is needed for the reduced release of gases that cause acid rain and various health problems, is too expensive and technically too difficult to install, says Sasol. The company produces a range of chemicals worldwide and also in South Africa.
Air pollution in the vicinity of coal-fired power stations on the east and south sides of Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city, is comparable to the air pollution levels of some of the world's most polluted cities. The government has proposed that the new limit be doubled, but there is now increasing pressure to take action against operators as the government is being sued by environmental activists for violating current gas emission restrictions. Sasol will have to comply with new restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from coal steam boilers, namely 500 mg of the pollutant per normal cubic meter. Sasol's release reports for 2018 show that some equipment at Secunda as well as at Sasolburg regularly exceeds 1,000 mg.
Sasol is constantly confirming its commitment to compliance with the clean air requirements, which are informed by a detailed baseline assessment conducted in 2017.
These activities are contained in area specific programmes aligned with the offset implementation plan. The aim of the programme is to gain experience and understanding in conducting offset programmes while continuously improving the quality of life, including air quality improvements for the communities benefiting from the interventions.
The burning of fossil fuels in the industry and power sector, transport sector, for domestic heating and cooking (wood and coal in the house), as well as application of fertiliser, burning of waste, [and so on] are all anthropogenic sources of pollution. We also are impacted by natural sources of pollution such as veld fires, pollen, and dust. The resultant air-pollution levels are a combination of all of these.
The World Health Organisation has confirmed air pollution is the world’s single biggest environmental health risk. Human exposure to toxic chemical compounds such as sulphur dioxide, heavy metals like mercury, and fine particulate matter, results in chronic respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, and lung cancer, and contributes to strokes, heart attacks, birth defects, and premature death. Sasol’s operations in the Vaal Triangle and Highveld air pollution priority areas are in areas known for extremely unsafe air.
Even healthy people can experience health impacts from polluted air including respiratory irritation or breathing difficulties during exercise or outdoor activities. The actual risk of adverse effects depends on current health status, the pollutant type and concentration, and the length of exposure to the polluted air.
High air pollution levels can cause immediate health problems such as aggravated cardiovascular and respiratory illness. Long-term exposure can have permanent health effects such as accelerated ageing of the lungs.