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Pietermaritzburg – An environmental situational analysis Presented by groundWork Siziwe Khanyile and Bobby Peek 20 September 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Pietermaritzburg – An environmental situational analysis Presented by groundWork Siziwe Khanyile and Bobby Peek 20 September 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pietermaritzburg – An environmental situational analysis Presented by groundWork Siziwe Khanyile and Bobby Peek 20 September 2005

2 Air Pollution – an ongoing problem Historical reality – you can see it (photos) 1997 Pietermaritzburg Municipality recognizes problem and approached civil society to sit on Air Quality Forum (Msunduzi Air Quality Forum) Civil society request to Hilton Ryder – then City Health Officer – to call for five year pollution reduction plans of all industry before participation: no response back. Problem well documented in local media – groundWork threatened with court action groundWork engaged with PMB in 2002, nothing materialised. The Forum: In reading the recent minutes – after ten years sampling is still done no mention of reduction plans and emmission inventories.

3 Hotspots Inner city (N3 – Bison Area) Northern area around oil mills –Eastwood –Raisthorpe –Northdale Southern areas around Edendale Complaints often from: –Claredon –Scottsville –Plessislaer –Pelham –Prestbury –Chase Valley –Central –Bisley –Blackridge –Peace Valley (next to FFS)

4 Peace Valley Survey Municipality survey July 2003 Grouping of odour: Cattle Skin / Leather; Burnt Coal; Oil / Petrol and Chemical; Rotten egg; Old Paint; Smoke from trains; terrible smell; Burnt / Old Oil; Chemicals. 41 people interviewed 34% - Oil / Petrol and Chemical 39% - Burnt / Old Oil “Smells strongest in the morning …” – no doubt because of inversions. Smells mainly in the morning by majority of recipients

5 Air samples in PMB June 2 – Burning Landfill site July 6 – Adjacent to a busy freeway and industrial wood plant July 20 – Adjacent to FFS Used Oil Refiners

6 Wilma Subra Environmental Chemist Member of American Chemical Society EPA Common Sense Initiative, Petroleum Refinery Subcommittee, 1994 to present. Chairman of the Review Committee for Louisiana Proposed Solid Waste Regulations, 1991 Louisiana DEQ NORM Committee to develop regulations and disposal options for Oil and Gas NORM Waste, 1992 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology Committee on Toxic Data Reporting to present. Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Hydrogen Sulfide Regulatory Committee MacArthur Fellowship Award Recipient

7 June 2 – Burning Landfill site Benzene highest concentration 720 ug/m3 – exceeded the EPA Screening Level (0.25 ug/m3) by 2,880 times Exceeded the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Annual Standard (12 ug/m3) by 60 times Toluene – 520 ug/m3 exceeded the EPA Ambient Air Screening Level (400 ug/m3) by 1.3 times. m, p-Xylene – concentration 310 ug/m3 exceeded the EPA Ambient Air Screening Level (170 ug/m3) by 1.8 times. Elevated levels of Chlorobenzene, Styrene, Chloroethane and Chloromethane Hydrogen Sulfide was present at 16 ug/m3 which exceeded the EPA Ambient Air Screening Level (2.1 ug/m3) by a factor of 7.6 times These chemicals indicate - large quantities of crude oil and petroleum products in the waste that is being burned in the landfill.

8 Health implication – Landfill site The high levels of the volatile organics in the ambient air near the burning landfill are a danger to the health of emergency responders and community members. Exclusion zone and only entered by personnel with appropriate protective equipment.

9 July 6 – Busy freeway and industrial wood Benzene concentrations: ug/m3 & ug/m3 in excess of the EPA Ambient Air Screening Level (0.25 ug/m3) by factors of 100 and 108 Double the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Annual Ambient Air Standard (12 ug/m3). Toluene (the chemical present in the highest concentrations), Ethyl Benzene, multiple isomers of Xylene and Methyl Ethyl Ketone.

10 July 20 – FFS Used Oil Refiners 2 Samples Benzene – exceeding the EPA Ambient Screening Levels (0.25 ug/m3): –Sample ug/m3 exceeded by a factor of 100. –Sample ug/m3 exceeded by a factor of 92. –The ambient air also contained Benzene at double the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Annual Ambient Air Standard (12 ug/m3). Sample 001 exceeded the EPA Ambient Screening Level of 100 ug/m3 for m, p-Xylene with a value of 150 ug/m3. Hydrogen Sulfide concentrations exceeded the EPA Ambient Air Screening Level : –Samples ug/m3 by factor of –Sample ug/m3 of 2.1 ug/m3 by factor of 18.5.

11 July 20 – FFS Used Oil Refiners Other chemicals detected: Toluene, Ethyl Benzene, Xylene (BTEX), Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Tetrachloroethane, and Styrene. These chemicals associated with petroleum refineries. The Hydrogen Sulfide present in the air samples indicated that the refinery processed sour crude which results in air emissions of sulfur compounds.

12 General health impact Benzene -Carcinogenic -Long-term exposure can lead to leukemia -Harmful to bone marrow -Decrease in red blood cells leading to anemia -Drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, loss of consciousness Toluene -Nervous system -Moderate levels cause tiredness, memory loss, nausea, hearing and colour vision loss -High levels may affect kidneys, cause unconsciousness, and even death Xylene Short term exposure -irritation of the nose and throat, gastrointestinal effects such as nausea, vomiting and gastric irritation Long term exposure -Central nervous system effects include headaches, lack of muscles coordination, poor balance -Decrease lung function, heart palpitations, chest pains Ethyl Benzene high levels of exposure -dizziness, throat & eye irritation & tightening of the chest

13 General health impact Styrene -N ervous system effects such as depression, concentration problems, muscle weakness, tiredness, and nausea, and possibly eye, nose, and throat irritation Hydrogen Sulfide -Is considered a broad-spectrum poison, meaning it can poison several different systems in the body. Breathing very high levels can cause death within just a few breaths Methyl Mercaptan -Eye, nose, and throat irritation, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, hoarseness, sore throat, cough, chest tightness, nasal congestion, palpitations, shortness of breath, stress, drowsiness, and alterations in mood.

14 Way forward An emission inventory needs to be undertaken as a matter urgency. Reduction plans by all industry must be submitted two months after inventory is completed. No expansions and further developments until above is achieved. The political decision makers must better equip the local officials –Increased funding (Development Bank of South Africa etc) –Increased staff –Increased political support Air Quality Forum needs to be reconstituted and managed by the authorities. City needs to take control – move away from reliance on consultants for core functions such as monitoring and managing information

15 Way forward The N3 is a problem: During winter period, there should be no heavy duty trucks using the N3 through PMB between 00:00 hrs and 09:00 hrs. This is when inversion is the strongest. Hotspots need to be tackled as a matter of urgency. Pietermaritzburg be considered as a priority area according to NEMA Air Quality Act No.39 of 2004 Landfill site needs to be audited A waste recovery and transfer station should be considered which will result in permanent jobs for people. Urgently determine site for a new landfill Consider closing in the medium term (five years) –On a wetland –Adjacent to homes –Clearly a problem as was evidenced this winter.

16 Wilma Subra, 19 September 2005 “The chemicals in the air which are representative of the chemicals detected in the 5 air samples indicate that the ambient air is contaminated in excess of acceptable standards and contains a large number of chemicals which can have a cumulative impact on the health of the community. Measures should be implemented by the operators of the facilities and the regulatory agencies to reduce the toxic chemicals released into the air and implement air monitoring programs that will result in improved ambient air quality and improved public health.”


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