Speech delivered by honourable Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi on the occasion of the launch of the Winter Clean Fires campaign “Basa njengo Magogo”, in Etwatwa, Ekurhuleni Municipality
9 Jun 2011
MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development: Ms Nandi Mayathula-Khoza
City of Ekurhuleni Executive Mayor: Mr Mondli Gungubele
Members of the Mayoral Committee
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen:
Let me take this opportunity, on behalf of the Department of Environmental Affairs to thank the Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni Municipality and the residents of Etwatwa for hosting us. It is my pleasure to launch the 2011 Basa Njengo Magogo (BnM) campaign here in Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality which is part of the Highveld Air Pollution Priority Area (HPA) – the second and to date the largest National Priority Area identified under the Air Quality Act.
The draft Highveld Priority Area Air Quality Management Plan that was published in the government Gazette for public comments on 6 May 2011 shows that Ekurhuleni Metro’s air quality is generally poor with exceedances of national ambient standards for both sulphur dioxide and respireable particulate matter, so-called PM10.
The air quality Baseline Assessment source apportionment indicates clearly that the industrial contribution to air pollution is the highest in the entire metro, with clay brick manufacturing being the biggest contributor, and the contribution from motor vehicles to the air pollution load is not insignificant due to the concentration in Ekurhuleni.Importantly though, residential fuel burning was also found to contribute largely to ambient concentration for all pollutants.This is partly attributed to the low elevation at which residential burning emissions are released.
The health impacts of air pollution are well documented. These include a vast array of respiratory illnesses. A 2004 study, for example, stated that 56% of respiratory hospital admissions were estimated to result primarily from domestic coal burning and 21% from wood burning in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni.
This means that people living in this area are deprived of their rights to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being. It was on this basis that Ekurhuleni was identified as one of Highveld Priority Area air quality hotspots.Despite the fact that people are slowly becoming more able to afford better and cleaner fuels for their energy requirements, there is no doubt that coal burning for space-heating and cooking will still remain with us for some time to come.
Although the detailed interventions to address the air pollution problem in the Highveld Priority Area are still to be finalised with the involvement of the Metro and major industries in Ekhurhuleni, the Department of Environmental Affairs, adopted the Department of Energy top down fire-making methodology referred to as “Basa Njengo Magogo (BnM)” as a “transitional” intervention to reduce air pollution in dense low-income communities.
To this end, I am happy to announce that the department’s is currently developing a strategy to address air pollution in dense, low-income communities. This strategy is being developed in collaboration with other government departments including Department of Human Settlements. It is my sincere hope that with the collective effort to tackle residential air pollution, our other partners will play their part in contributing of creating air quality that is not harmful to the health and well-being of our people.
It is thus my pleasure to introduce to you Gogo Maria Nobelungu Mashinini, who discovered the top down methodology of making coal fire – “Basa njengo Magogo”.
The objectives of the Basa njengo Magogo rollout and demonstrations are the following:
To make people aware of the cleaner fire-making methodology, Basa Njengo Magogo (BnM).
To provide BnM practical training for affected communities and encourage them to implement the methodology in their own homes when making coal fires.
To address the level of air pollution in communities that use coal especially in dense low-income communities that use coal fires for cooking and space heating about the impacts of pollution from these fuels, to their health and wellbeing.
In South Africa, June is dedicated as both youth and environment month. At least 16 youth from this community have been trained and employed as field workers responsible for Basa Njengo Magogo household demonstrations and awareness campaign.
In conclusion, I must point out that the success of this campaign rests, largely, with the community at large. This event is not just a launch, but a practical learning event where the top-down “Basa Njengo Magogo” fire-making methodology will be properly institutionalised within the structures that deal with the people on a daily basis.
I call on everyone present here to be ambassadors of the environment, pass on the message and transfer the skills you have learned today of making clean and healthy fires to mitigate air pollution, to your families and neighbours.
Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs
9 Jun 2011
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