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Sources of atmospheric emissions

The most common anthropogenic sources of atmospheric emission in South Africa include:
  1. Industrial and commercial activities – including Scheduled Processes and non-domestic fuel burning appliance operation by businesses, hospitals and schools.
  2. Electricity generation – by power stations for the national grid.
  3. Waste treatment and disposal – waste incineration, landfills and waste water treatment works.
  4. Residential – household combustion of coal, paraffin, LPG, dung and wood.
  5. Transport – petrol and diesel driven vehicle tailpipe emissions, vehicle entrained road dust, brake and tyre wear fugitives, and rail- and aviation-related emissions.
  6. Mining – including fugitive dust releases and spontaneous combustion emissions.
  7. Agricultural – including crop residue burning, enteric fermentation and fertiliser, and pesticide application.
  8. Informal / miscellaneous – including tyre burning, wild fires and fugitive dust from open areas.


There is currently no current comprehensive national emissions inventory for non-greenhouse gas emissions.  The absence of such an inventory represents a serious information gap, particularly given the shift from air pollution control focussed on large industries to air quality management through the control of a wide range of diverse but significant source types.
Individual cities and metropolitan municipalities have recently initiated processes aimed at establishing and expanding their emissions inventories including the cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg, and the Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and Ethekwini Metropolitan Municipalities.
The extent of emissions from the majority of source sectors are not anticipated to change substantially in the short-term.  Emissions from the household fuel burning sector, the industrial and commercial fuel burning sector and biomass burning are likely to either remain relatively constant or to increase during this period.  The greatest increases in emissions are projected to be associated with the electricity generation and vehicle emission sectors in the short- to medium-terms.

Vehicle emissions, estimated for a base year of 2002, are expected to increase, assuming an absence of future controls, with various pollutants predicted to increase by up to 27% in 2007 and by up to 44% in 2011.
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This page was last updated 04/12/2007