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Data gaps will leave scientists ‘in the dark’: How load shedding is obscuring our understanding of air quality

Caradee Y. Wright
Matthew Benyon
Nomfundo Mahlangeni
Thandi Kapwata
Rebecca M. Garland


Significance: South Africa’s scheduled power outages,  commonly known as load shedding, are increasing each  year due to instability and poor performance of the  existing fleet of power stations supplying electricity. The  power provider projects that there will be load shedding  every week for the next year. Data availability from the existing air quality monitoring stations infrastructure is  already sparse over South Africa. Increased load shedding exacerbates this issue as power outages  disrupt equipment operation. The collection of longterm  and continuous ambient air quality data is  needed for air quality-related research, policy and  strategy development, and air quality management. The  introduction of air quality monitors that are reliable and climate-friendly, such as passive samples, rechargeable  battery-powered sensors and renewable energy    powered sensors, might be interim interventions to ensure continuous data collection.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1996-7489
print ISSN: 0038-2353