Erongo’s air quality under scrutiny

24 Jun 2016 09:20am
WALVIS BAY, 24 JUN (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Mines and Energy is conducting research to determine the level and effect of dust from uranium mines and sand mining operations on people in the Erongo Region.
Blasting at mines, sand mining and vehicles travelling on gravel roads release dust particles into the air, which if not controlled, could accumulate and cause lung diseases.
South African company AIRSHED Planning Professionals is involved in the study, together with the Geological Survey of Namibia and the Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources from Germany.
Technical director at AIRSHED, Hanlie Liebenberg-Enslin said the aim is to where the dust emanate from to develop and implement preventative measures.
She said the focus will be in Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Henties Bay and Arandis.
“Weather stations will be set up in these towns by the second week of August to monitor the level of dust particles in the air. This data will then be used to decide whether the air is polluted or if it is still acceptable for our lungs.”
She said by 2018, the study should be completed and recommendations will be adopted.
“We want to understand air quality and establish mitigation measures in the region. The data will also help in the establishment of air management plans to be used in the ministry’s Strategic Environmental Management Plan.”
A baseline study on air quality management carried out by the ministry during 2010 in Arandis, indicated that there is a high level of Particulate Matter 10 (PM10 ) in the air.
Particulate Matter (PM 10 or 2.5) is the term for coarse dust particles found in the air, which could be a risk to human health as it can cause lung cancer.
The 10 and 2.5 represent the size of dust particles in diameter.
To keep the public well informed on progress of the study, a web-based platform will be available to access collected data.