Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The costs of air pollution in South Africa

We have long known it, but now it is official. The country's energy intensive growth is creating serious side-effects, one of them being air pollution on the Highveld.

According to an article in the Mail & Guardian [t]he Highveld regions of eastern Gauteng and western Mpumalanga, including towns such as Witbank, Standerton, Boksburg and Benoni, among others, have been declared air-pollution hot spots. "There is little doubt that people living and working in these areas do not enjoy air quality that is not harmful to their health and well-being," the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism said in a statement on Monday.

Acknowledging the problem helps, but the real challenge is to move beyond policy rhetoric to economic incentives to reduce air pollution as well as taxes on air pollution should acceptable levels be breached.

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