Spatial and Temporal Trends of PM₁₀ and SO₂ in the Richards Bay Area
Keywords:air quality, trends, status, Richards Bay
Air pollution is a public health emergency (WHO, 2016a). It is the biggest environmental risk to health with a global responsibility for about 1 in 9 deaths annually. In 2013, Statistics SA indicated that 10 % of all deaths in South Africa were attributed to respiratory diseases. Areas with increased industrial growth such as Richards Bay are particularly vulnerable. The paper analyses the spatial and temporal concentration trends of PM₁₀ and SO₂ in Richards Bay over the last two decades; specifically, since the promulgation of national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) and minimum emissions standards (MES). Mann-Kendell trend tests was applied to monitoring data from the Richards Bay Clean Air Association (RBCAA) to test for an improving or worsening trend and the significance thereof. The pollution concentration data was also compared to NAAQS and the WHO annual guidelines. Overall, results indicate that although there has been a downward trend in the concentration of PM₁₀ and SO₂ emissions in the study area, the trends are not statistically significant. However, there was indication of statistically significant reducing trends in ambient concentrations at some stations. The concentrations at all stations were below NAAQS.
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