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Air quality: missing thewood for the trees

PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:23 pm
by Wilberforce ... uality.pdf
Air quality: missing the wood for the trees
Indoor pollution is SA’s most serious air quality problem

"Throughout the country, but mainly in rural areas, one-third of South African households burn solid fuels –
wood, cow dung, vegetable waste and coal – to cook and keep warm, according to a study published in the
South African Medical Journal.1 These fires envelop many households in “swirling pawls of thick choking
smoke”, according to a recent Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) document.2
After taking into account ventilation, about 20% of the country’s households are exposed to indoor smoke
pollution. The burden falls most heavily on the black population. Low indoor air quality affects 24% of black
households, 9% of coloured households and only 1% of white or Indian households, according to the study.
By most measures, the foul air circulating inside the homes of South Africa’s poor is worse than the ambient
dirty air found scarring a few industrial hot spots. Significant progress has been made with electrification,
reaching about 76% of households.3 But the poor cannot always afford electricity: even some electrified
households continue to burn solid fuels for cooking and heating."