Development of an air quality management framework for municipal government
Air quality problems have been an inescapable partner of global economic development, and such problems have prevailed since the industrial age. After the democratisation of South Africa in 1994, the government embarked on a law reforming process to bring all the laws of the country in line with the new constitution of South Africa. This process included air quality legislation. Air quality management in South Africa has undergone drastic changes with the implementation of the National Environmental: Air Quality Act (Act 39 of 2004). In the previous dispensation, the Air Pollution Prevention Act (1965), emphasised point-source control, but the new act shifted the emphasis from point-source control to reactively protecting the receiving environment. In keeping with the new approach, municipalities are now required to compile, implement and maintain air quality management plans. Although, this is an explicit requirement of the Act, no guidelines exist for regulating bodies regarding the content of such plans. In this paper, a framework for generic air quality management plans for municipalities is proposed. This framework was compiled using information gained during a literature study of two countries where the implementation of air quality management plans has brought about an improvement in air quality, as well as two other countries where despite implementation of such plans, air quality has deteriorated. The information gained from the literature study was used to compile questionnaires that were distributed to all metropolitan councils and district municipalities (N = 54) in South Africa. To obtain a comprehensive, contextualised view on the issue, industries (N = 1 290) were also included in the study. The main contribution of this study was the compilation of a framework for a generic air quality management plan to be used by municipal authorities. Due to the fact that lack of training has been identified as a critical gap in the successful implementation and maintenance of an air quality management plan, this study also makes a significant contribution to the identification of generic training outcomes.
Key words: Air quality management plans, air quality, municipality, local authorities, local government, framework, training outcomes.