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- Volume 21, Issue 1, 2012
Clean Air Journal = Tydskrif vir Skoon Lug - Volume 21, Issue 1, 2012
Volume 21, Issue 1, 2012
Author Abel SakhauSource: Clean Air Journal = Tydskrif vir Skoon Lug 21 (2012)More Less
First of all I would like to wish all National Association for Clean Air members (NACA), local and international associates well and hope 2012 has been good. It is with a great appreciation that I congratulate the NACA editorial committee on successful release of the NACA Journal Issue Vol. 21 No. 1.
Integrating air-related health surveillance into air quality management : perceptions and practicalitiesSource: Clean Air Journal = Tydskrif vir Skoon Lug 21, pp 3 –10 (2012)More Less
Health surveillance is presently not an integral part of air quality management in South Africa, although ambient air pollution standards are derived from health effects of personal exposure. In a survey to air quality officials and environmental health practitioners (n = 361), respondents were asked to comment on a discussion document regarding ways to put health onto the air quality management agenda. Less than 7% of the sample (n = 23) responded, the most likely reasons being: overloaded staff; lack of knowledge about air quality-related health; and apathy. All respondents acknowledged their support of the concepts, one suggested inclusion of PM2.5 and airspora over and above criteria pollutants, and one mentioned use of an indicator 'number of complaints of visual air pollution and odour'. In general, it would appear that the links between air quality and health risks are not well understood and, more importantly, assessing air-related health outcomes with respect to air quality is not a part of Local Municipalities' Integrated Development Plans. To motivate for necessary changes in Health Information Systems and data management, evidence of valuable application is required. Without readily available health facility and local municipality-specific data on respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, it will prove difficult to track whether implemented air pollution mitigation measures will have positive health impacts.
Determination of the mercury content of lichens and comparison to atmospheric mercury levels in the South African Highveld regionSource: Clean Air Journal = Tydskrif vir Skoon Lug 21, pp 19 –25 (2012)More Less
The concentration of mercury vapour in ambient air is routinely determined using specialised instruments. As an economical alternative, actively pumped Hopcalite sorbent tubes can be used to trap atmospheric mercury, which is subsequently analysed by cold vapour atomic absorption spectroscopy. Plant materials are also readily available in most regions and can be analysed to obtain information on time averaged atmospheric mercury levels.
Lichen and tree bark samples were collected in the cities of Pretoria and Witbank, dried and acid digested with subsequent cold vapour atomic absorption spectroscopy. Average mercury concentrations ranging from 74 to 193 µg.kg-1 were found in lichens from three Pretoria suburbs, whilst average Hg levels of 228 µg.kg-1 were determined in lichens collected in Witbank. The average mercury concentration in tree bark was consistently lower than in lichens, with concentrations between 28 and 72 µg.kg-1 determined in samples from three Pretoria suburbs and 75 µg.kg-1 determined in samples taken in Witbank. This study is the first in South Africa to determine mercury levels in lichens and tree bark.
Average total gaseous mercury concentrations in ambient air at the three Pretoria suburban sites, as determined by a semi-continuous spectroscopic method using Hopcalite sampling, ranged between 1.6 and 2.5 ng.m-3, while an average of 1.7 ng.m-3 was measured in Witbank over the sampling interval.