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live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 26 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Port Elizabeth is currently 1.2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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| Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
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|Saturday, Dec 2|
Good 31 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 3|
Good 41 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Good 26 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Good 25 AQI US
Good 26 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Good 10 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Good 33 AQI US
|Friday, Dec 8|
Good 39 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 9|
Good 13 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 10|
Good 7 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 11|
Good 22 AQI US
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Port Elizabeth, officially renamed Gqeberha and colloquially often referred to as PE, is a major seaport city in Eastern Cape province in South Africa. The city's name change was officially gazetted on 23rdFebruary 2021. According to a census conducted in 2020, Port Elizabeth had an estimated population of approximately 970,000 people. This increased to 1.15 million when considering the entire metropolis.
Towards the end of 2021, Port Elizabeth was enjoying a period of “Good” quality air with a US AQI reading of 47. This United States Air Quality Index number is calculated using the levels of six of the most commonly occurring air pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide and both sizes of particulate matter, which are PM2.5 and PM10. It can then be used as the metric when comparing air quality in other cities around the world. If data is unavailable for all 6 pollutants, a figure can still be calculated by using what figures there are. In Port Elizabeth, four pollutants were recorded which were; PM2.5 - 9.2 µg/m³, PM10 - 52 µg/m³, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - 30.2 µg/m³ and sulphur dioxide (SO2) - 5.2 µg/m³.
This level of PM2.5 is below the recommended safe level of 10 µg/m³ as suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as being an acceptable level. Although no amount of air pollution is considered to be safe.When the air quality is “Good”, doors and windows can be safely opened to allow the clean fresh air inside. All forms of outdoor activity can be enjoyed without fear of contaminated air. For up-to-date information about air quality, there is an app available from AirVisual which is downloadable for all mobile devices.
Air quality is very volatile as it is subject to many external influencing factors such as meteorological and atmospheric changes.
Looking back at the figures for 2020, released by IQAir.com, it can be seen that the months with the best quality air were January until May and August until December. During these ten months, the air quality was below the target figure of 10 µg/m³ as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The lowest reading which indicates the best quality was during the months of January and again in November with readings of 7.2 µg/m³. The worst month was October with a 9.1 µg/m³ reading. The month of June returned a reading from the “Good” category with an 11.2 µg/m³ figure. July returned “Moderate air with a figure of 13.1 µg/m³.
Records for air pollution were first held in 2019 when a figure of 10.6 µg/m³ was recorded, which was from the “Good” category. Last year was even better when the WHO target figure was achieved with a reading of just 9.0 µg/m³. But this reading may have been affected by the COVID-19 situation as many vehicles were no longer in daily use because the offices were closed, in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus. Many factories and non-essential production units were also required to close which removed their emissions from the atmosphere.
In South Africa, outdoor and indoor air pollution is considered a serious problem and emissions such as sulphur dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, benzene and volatile organic compounds are considered a cause for concern. The air quality in different areas of the country is affected by air pollution that ends up in the air from various sources. These sources include power generation activities, industrial processes, waste disposal, transportation (private and public), biomass incineration (incineration of living or dead plant material including grassland, forest, agricultural waste and incineration of biomass for fuel), household fuel, landfill fuel, wastewater treatment and agriculture.
Industries are a major consumer of energy and rely 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.
Most sources of air pollution are far beyond the control of individuals and require action by city governments, as well as national and international policymakers in sectors such as transport, energy waste management, buildings and agriculture.
The pollutant which has the most detrimental effects on the body is the microscopic particulate matter or PM2.5 as it is often known. These tiny particles are suspended in the air and breathed into the lungs. Due to their size, the body’s natural defence system cannot trap them so they become lodged in the alveoli at the base of the bronchial tubes. From here they are able to enter the bloodstream and penetrate the body tissue and travel as far as the heart. Respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema are commonly found in polluted areas.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 90 per cent of the world population live in places with low air quality. The WHO indicates that air pollution causes 7 million deaths worldwide annually.
Among the diseases caused by air pollution are chronic obstructions, lung cancer, ischemic heart disease and strokes.