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There is a lot of fascinating data about air quality on the air pollution map for Soshanguve and it can be loaded from the main city page. By selecting the air pollution map it acts as a link to a new page which is filled with all the relevant information about air quality.
When the new page opens, the viewer will see a solid colour providing the background to the map. This is a direct indication of the current state of the air. Currently, the map is green which shows the viewer that the air quality is “Good”. The colours are standard throughout the IQAir website and range from pale green to dark maroon, where the darker colours show worsening air quality.
Several coloured discs will be seen scattered across the map which represent the location of the ground-level air monitoring stations that provide data to the city. At the centre of each disc is a number which is the United States Air Quality Index reading or US AQI for short. It is calculated by measuring the levels of up to six of the most prolific pollutants found in city air. They are usually both sizes of Particulate Matter (PM2.5 and PM10), ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide. Once this figure has been established, it can be used as a metric when comparing air quality in different areas around the globe. Each station can be selected individually to discover new information about air quality in that area. The entire system has the backing of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Consulting the main city page, once more, it can be seen in the coloured band at the top of it that Soshanguve was experiencing a period of “Moderate” air quality with a US AQI reading of 56. The colour of the banner also shows this level. Three pollutants were measured but the main one was PM2.5 with a recorded level of 14.5 µg/m³ (microns per cubic metre). At this level, it is almost three times higher than the suggested target figure of 5 µg/m³ as recommended by the WHO.
Immediately below the air pollution map for Soshanguve can be seen a list of the number of contributors there are that supply the data regarding air quality. It also shows the number of stations they control. Currently, there is one station operated by the government body known as the South African Air Quality Information System.
There are a lot more facts and figures on the air pollution map for Soshanguve but the page needs to be viewed in full-screen mode so that all the information is visible. This is a simple procedure, by clicking the icon at the top right-hand side of the page will open a new set of pages filled with all the information needed.
When viewed in this way, there will be a list of four options that can be seen on the left-hand side of the page. These can individually be turned on and off to see the effects they each have on the map.
The first option shows the sites of the ground-level air monitoring stations there are in the vicinity, although they will not all be controlled by the city’s authorities. Each disc can be selected which will open a new page filled with air quality information for that part of the city.
The second option on the list shows the areas affected by wildfires burning out of control. At the time of writing in April 2023, there were no reports of any such fires. When fires are detected, option four needs to be investigated because it shows the speed and direction of the prevailing winds and will give an indication of where the ensuing smoke will blow.
The third option changes the background colour of the map to indicate the current air quality. If it is good, then pale colours will be seen on the page, but darker colours will appear when the air quality gets worse. If these dark colours are too distracting, the option can be deactivated whereupon the map will revert to a more neutral set of colours which are easier to understand.
The remainder of the facts and figures about air pollution can be found on the right-hand side of the screen. A table will be seen which shows the ranking of the top seven most polluted cities in the world. The rest of the participating world cities can be found on the pages of the “Full-ranking” section which needs to be opened separately.
Below the section of the contributors can be found a list of the most polluted areas of the city according to the readings provided by the monitoring stations. Currently, the most polluted area of the city is around the Bodibeng station which shows a US AQI reading of 56 which is classed as being “Moderate”.
The following section shows where the most popular monitoring stations are, but as there is only one station in Soshanguve, there is no competition. The station at Bodibeng has 245 loyal followers.
The source of the polluted air is not directly shown on the air quality map for Soshanguve, but it is known that industry is a major consumer of energy and relies mainly on fossil fuels, especially coal. The industrial/mining sector is also a major consumer of electricity at a national level. The largest industrial consumer of electricity is the mining sector, followed by the iron and steel, and non-ferrous metal industries.
Traffic (road and water) is the largest source of particulate matter, mainly due to the use of diesel fuel. Traffic emits about 40 per cent of the particulate matter. It is closely followed in this by the industry, which emits about the same amount. This is followed by agriculture, which emits about 23 per cent of particulate matter.