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Status of Air Pollution in Botswana and Significance to Air Quality and Human Health

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Abstract

Background Air pollution is an important issue in developed and industrialized countries. The most common sources of air pollution are anthropogenic activities such as construction dust, vehicular emissions and mining. For low- and middle-income countries, biomass burning and indoor heating are the leading sources of air pollution. As more of the world undergoes development and human populations increase, industrialization is also increasing, along with the potential for air pollution. Objectives This article reviews the status of air pollution to raise awareness of air quality and human health in Botswana. Discussion Since independence, Botswana has experienced one of the highest economic development growth rates in the world. These changes have occurred as a result of economic growth and resource utilization associated with increased industrialization. However, there is growing worldwide concern about the effect and impact of pollution due to industrial growth. Botswana is ranked amongst the most polluted countries with serious air pollution, despite a population of just over 2 million. Conclusions Rapid development and increased urbanization have had a major environmental impact around the world. This increased growth has the potential to lead to air quality degradation. Significant health threats are posed by industrial and vehicular emissions, especially in urban and peri-urban areas where the population is most concentrated. It is important that the linkage between air pollution and health effects is fully examined across all scales of life, especially in developing countries. In addition, programs should be devised to educate the public about the pollution impacts on health.
Journal of Health & Pollution Vol. 7, No. 15 — September 2017
Commentary
Introduction
For many decades, air pollution has
been associated with the export of
pollutants from urban (large cities and
industrial areas) to rural and other
distant areas. e perception has been
that only industrialized or developed
countries are susceptible to air pollution.
However, this is no longer the case as
even less developed and middle-income
countries experience high particle
densities and signicant air pollution.
Air pollution has a signicant eect
on air quality due to its wide-ranging
potential consequences to human
health, ecosystems, visibility, weather
modication, radiative forcing and
changes in tropospheric chemistry.
Pollutants occur in the form of gases
and particulates from biological/natural
and anthropogenic (human-made)
processes released into the atmosphere.
Air pollution is pervasive across Africa;
the continent is quickly urbanizing
and pollution from vehicle exhaust,
wood burning, dusty dirt roads, power
plants and other industrial activities
has reached high levels in many cities.
In some of the most populous cities
and/or national capitals, pollutant
concentrations exceed threshold limits
Background. Air pollution is an important issue in developed and industrialized countries.
e most common sources of air pollution are anthropogenic activities such as construction
dust, vehicular emissions and mining. For low- and middle-income countries, biomass
burning and indoor heating are the leading sources of air pollution. As more of the world
undergoes development and human populations increase, industrialization is also increasing,
along with the potential for air pollution.
Objectives. is article reviews the status of air pollution to raise awareness of air quality and
human health in Botswana.
Discussion. Since independence, Botswana has experienced one of the highest economic
development growth rates in the world. ese changes have occurred as a result of economic
growth and resource utilization associated with increased industrialization. However, there is
growing worldwide concern about the eect and impact of pollution due to industrial growth.
Botswana is ranked amongst the most polluted countries with serious air pollution, despite a
population of just over 2 million.
Conclusions. Rapid development and increased urbanization have had a major
environmental impact around the world. is increased growth has the potential to
lead to air quality degradation. Signicant health threats are posed by industrial and
vehicular emissions, especially in urban and peri-urban areas where the population is most
concentrated. It is important that the linkage between air pollution and health eects is fully
examined across all scales of life, especially in developing countries. In addition, programs
should be devised to educate the public about the pollution impacts on health.
Competing Interests: The authors declare no nancial competing interests.
Keywords. air pollution, air quality, atmosphere, exposure, human health
Received January 25, 2017. Accepted July 18, 2017.
J Health Pollution 15: 8–17 (2017)
Status of Air Pollution in Botswana and Significance to
Air Quality and Human Health
Modise Wiston
Department of Physics, University of
Botswana
Private Bag 0022, Gaborone, Botswana
Corresponding Author:
Modise Wiston
wistonm@mopipi.ub.bw
Wiston
(i.e. levels considered safe by the World
Health Organization)., As a result,
populations in these centers are likely
to be at risk of air pollution problems.
Indoor air pollution caused by cooking
with wood and other sooty fuels such
as charcoal and cow dung is also an
issue of concern. Migration from the
countryside to urban areas increases
emissions and exposure to pollutants.
Although there is no national record of
air quality problems, many potentially
hazardous air pollution conditions
exist, especially in areas most impacted
by frequent biomass burning, and
industrial emissions. For example,
in the southern part of Africa, winter
is normally dry and characterised by
low temperatures, veld res (which
sometimes start accidentally), human-
induced biomass burning, coal burning
and other industrial operations for
energy production, all of which raise
pollution levels. Moreover, biomass
burning is a common activity in
southern Africa and is not controlled or
regulated.
Air Pollution in Low- and Middle-
Income Countries
Pollution has a signicant eect
Journal of Health & Pollution Vol. 7, No. 15 — September 2017
Commentary
DWMPC
NOX
PM
SADC
SO2
WHO
Department of Waste
Management and
Pollution Control
Nitrogen oxides
Particulate matter
Southern African
Development Committee
Sulphur dioxide
World Health Organization
on the environment and its proper
management is crucial to mitigate the
eects of its release. Continuous burning
activities (e.g. farming practices, human
settlements and energy sources) add
to the regional pollutant burden as
evidenced by thick smoke, especially
in winter., Traces of anthropogenic
emissions are also visible from urban/
industrial sources. Emissions from
vehicles are predominant in densely
populated cities/towns, and visible in
the morning and aernoon during
peak hours. For example, the transport
sector has expanded rapidly in recent
years, resulting in doubled car eets
over the last few decades in countries
such as Botswana and Zimbabwe.,
Equally visible are smoke emissions
from industrial and indoor heating
from urban areas and other homesteads.
However, the greatest threat of indoor
air pollution occurs in settlements
(both rural and urban), as many people
continue to rely on traditional fuels for
cooking and heating. Studies have also
indicated that high air pollution levels
have substantial eects on human health
and infant mortality rates.,,, As
particulates (e.g. dust, smoke, vehicular
emissions and other small suspensions)
are released into air, they negatively
impact air quality by polluting the air.
Not all of the pollution disposed into
the air is neutralized quickly; some
pollutants can remain for longer
periods before being removed. is
depends upon factors such as the
ux or concentration of pollutants
released, their lifetimes, meteorological
parameters prevailing at the time
(e.g. wind, precipitation) as well as
atmospheric processes (e.g. chemical
reactions and stability). By-products of
chemical reactions are discharged into
the atmosphere, altering its chemical
composition and spreading ne
particulates; some of which, if inhaled,
can attack the lung tissues, and may
cause respiratory problems and/or
death. Acute respiratory infections are
among the leading causes of diseases
worldwide and have been linked with
exposure to pollutants from domestic
biomass fuels in developing countries.
ese infections are also one of the
leading causes of child mortality,
with most fatalities among children
under ve years of age in developing
countries.,   Air pollution is linked
to a number of human health and
environmental impacts (e.g. respiratory
diseases, heavy metal poisoning) and
aects lakes by increasing acidic levels
or nutrients that aect water quality and
aquatic life. Polluted air can also cause
shorter lifespans and pose other health
hazards to human health.
Air quality assessments are carried
out to determine whether threshold
limits for particular pollutants are
being exceeded. A threshold limit
quanties the maximum average
concentration of contaminants to
which people may be exposed to in
a given time without injury to their
health. Air quality guidelines and set
standards are fundamental to eective
pollution management and provide the
link between the source of emissions
(emitter) and the user/target (recipient).
Data is collected from major polluting
sources, and an emission inventory
provides a current and comprehensive
understanding of air pollution emissions
within a specic area over a specied
period of time.
While economic growth is important
to any country’s advancement,
worldwide experience with growth
highlights concern about the side
eects and impacts of pollution into
the atmosphere. Improper disposal
of pollution has become one of the
hindrances to development, especially
due to a lack of understanding of
the consequences and/or lack of
policies and regulations. is is a
common phenomenon in developing
countries in their pre-industrial stage
and for countries on the verge of
industrialization, and has been an
ongoing issue in Botswana (an upper
middle-income country). Waste
management, pollution and poor
urban conditions are some of the major
challenges associated with development
in Africa. e purpose of this paper
is to give an overview of the state of
local pollution and highlight some of
the specics of air pollution issues in
Botswana. Special attention is given
to the concentrations and impacts
of chemical pollutants on air quality.
ere has been relatively little research
on regional air quality and pollution
impacts in Botswana.
Discussion
Botswana is a landlocked country,
located in the center of southern
Africa (Figure 1), with an population
expected to increase from about
2,024,904 in 2011 to about 2,565,855
Wiston
Status of Air Pollution in Botswana and Signicance to Air Quality and Human Health
Abbreviations
 Journal of Health & Pollution Vol. 7, No. 15 — September 2017
Commentary
from industrial air pollutants. ere is
also a signicant amount of pollution
coming from other sources such
as res and other common natural
sources, such as wind-blown dust.
Pollution Policy and Regulation in
Botswana
Botswana has experienced one of
the highest economic development
growth rates since independence and
is facing a myriad of environmental
problems due to its rapid development.
Examples include increased solid waste
generation, as well as air pollutants
from various sources (e.g. mining, fuel
burning and vehicular emissions).,
Dierent types of pollutants require
specic source point treatments and
disposal methods to reduce negative
impacts on the environment. Ambient
air quality is monitored in accordance
with the Atmospheric Pollution
Prevention Act (APA) that calls for the
‘prevention of atmospheric pollution
by industrial processes in declared
controlled areas. e government of
Botswana has factored environmental
sustainability into the national
agenda, one major milestone being
the establishment of Environmental
Impact Assessment (EIA) legislation
in 2005, which requires all new
developments to be assessed for their
environmental impacts.
Botswana also created a policy for
the safeguard of air quality—the
main goal being to have a modern air
pollution monitoring and surveillance
system to assist in planning and other
decision-making processes. Some of
the objectives include:
establishing a sound scientic basis
for policy development
assessing population and ecosystem
exposure to pollution
establishing a database for public
information and awareness
in 2026. Most of the urban areas
and modern developments are
located along the eastern part of the
country, and much of the population
is concentrated in the east, where
there is sucient space for agriculture,
better road networks and other
modern facilities. Industrialization
has been highly encouraged since
independence and continues to be an
essential component of developmental
eorts. Industrialization is regarded
as a ‘key engine’ to economic
growth and prosperity, and is the
main driver of economic growth.
ese changes will continue as a
result of economic gain and lead to
increased resource utilization and
consumption. Botswana is reported
to be one the most highly polluted
countries, with high emissions and
serious air pollution, despite its low
population. For example, about 40%
of an estimated 330 child deaths due
to acute lower respiratory infections
are attributable to household air
pollution.
Botswana relies on dierent sectors
(mining, tourism, agriculture and
manufacturing) for economic
development. Mining has been the
leading contributor to the gross
domestic product (GDP) since
independence., While other sectors
(textile, industry and manufacturing)
also play a role, they are smaller scale
operations and the import rate is
greater than the export rate for most
goods. For example, more than 50%
of the country’s electrical supply
is imported from other countries,
especially neighboring South Africa.
As much as these sectors contribute
substantially to development, they also
have a direct impact on pollution in
the country and the region, although
this problem does not arise solely
Wiston
Figure 1 — Location of Botswana within southern Africa

Journal of Health & Pollution Vol. 7, No. 15 — September 2017
Commentary
Wiston
Status of Air Pollution in Botswana and Signicance to Air Quality and Human Health
adherence to air quality standards
(Tab le 1 ). Such operations should
be regularly assessed to ensure the
safety of employees, the environment
and industry sustainability. Some
of the acts/regulations under which
polluting processes operate include,
but are not limited to: the APA of
1971; Botswana Strategy for Waste
Management of 1978 (addresses how
waste management is to be carried
out to protect human health and the
identifying pollution sources and
risks
evaluating long-term trends
establishing a basis for abatement
strategy planning.,
For all operations with the potential
to pollute, specic policies, acts/
regulations and recommendations
should be met in order to ensure
environment and ensures prudent use
of natural resources); Factories Act
of 1979 (provides for occupational
health and safety conditions in
factories); and the EIA of 2005.-
 e EIA denes environmental
policies to assess the potential eects
of planned developmental activities,
and determine and provide mitigation
measures to address adverse impacts
on the environment. e EIA
also ensures that monitoring and
Table 1 — WHO and Botswana Air Quality Guidelines for Common Air Pollutants.
(Data adapted from Mmolawa and Keabetwe34 [obtained from BOS 498: 2012]48 and Schwela)9
 Journal of Health & Pollution Vol. 7, No. 15 — September 2017
Commentary
evaluation of environmental impacts
are put in place during operations.
e Air Pollution Control Division
in the Department of Mines aims
to ‘promote and ensure sustainable
industrial development and
improvement of the standard of living
in Botswana by controlling pollution
at sources to protect the environment,
public and health welfare.’ Some of
its objectives include: (i) minimizing
atmospheric pollution by industries
and other anthropogenic activities, (ii)
continuous monitoring of air quality
within the country to determine
exposure levels of air pollution to
the public and environment and
(iii) promoting the concept and
practice of pollution prevention at the
source. e Department of Waste
Management and Pollution Control
(DWMPC) was also established with
the mandate to control air pollution
from primary sources, providing
management of controlled and
hazardous wastes, as well as planning,
facilitating and implementation of
waste management strategy. e
mandate applies to all government
institutions and all activities that deal
with pollution and waste. One of the
goals is to provide for the prevention
and minimization of pollution
(land, water or air), control and
remediation measures. e DWMPC
issues a license to businesses and
rms operating recycling facilities.
Dierent exposure levels are dened
such that concentrations from
dierent pollutants must fall within
set standards, as humans are at high
risk when exposed to increased
levels or with prolonged exposure.
Table 1 highlights some of the air
quality thresholds for a number of
pollutants in Botswana. Regionally,
several agreements have been signed
committing the Southern African
Development Committee (SADC)
member states to improving air
quality standards—including the
Dakar Declaration to phase out leaded
gasoline by 2005 and the Harare
Resolution of 1998 on the initiation of
the SADC Protocol on Regional Air
Quality and Atmospheric Emissions.
Furthermore, all SADC member states
are parties to various multilateral
environmental agreements, including
the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change, the
1999 Basel Convention and the 1994
Bamako Convention (www.sadc.int).
Sources of Air Pollution in Botswana
Although Botswana is not highly
industrialized, several industries
such as metal processing have
recently been introduced. Sources
of air pollution include industrial
operations, manufacturing, small-
scale plants, smelters, stone/sand
crushers, trac emissions, waste and
household res. Household burning
of fossil fuels (e.g. wood and biomass)
remains one of the major energy
sources used for cooking, heating and
power generation. In addition to these
anthropogenic sources, natural sources
also contribute a signicant amount
of pollution, including the Kalahari
Desert and natural re eruptions. One
other signicant factor is the high
rate at which the number of vehicles
has increased in Botswana in recent
decades. ere is a signicant amount
of vehicle importation, especially
of cheap used Japanese vehicles,
most of which are not properly
maintained aer purchase. ese
vehicles are reconditioned older model
cars discarded from industrialized
countries and there is a continuing
problem of lead additives in
petroleum. ere is also a signicant
number of privately owned vehicles,
leading to increased trac congestion
on the road despite the poor state of
the road network. e rising number
of automobiles leads to high levels of
trac-related pollution.,
A vast amount of mineral dust is also
generated from the Kalahari (covering
much of the western part of the
subcontinent), which has a signicant
impact on regional pollution and
climate. Dust generation results from
rapid soil loss and desertication either
through industrialization or resource
utilization, leading to increased wind-
blown soil erosion, forest res and
deforestation. Fine dust particles can
be lied up to higher altitudes and
transported over long distances away
from their source regions. eir eects
can be felt not only locally, but also in
regions far away from their sources.
As a result, many locations have the
potential to be aected by particles
transported from desert areas. is
eect is attributed to intensied grazing
pressure along with climate change
and the associated reactivation of the
Kalahari dune eld aer a millennia of
inactivity.,, Previous studies have
reported that overgrazing is one of the
major contributors to vegetative loss
over the Kalahari. ey reported
an increase in the grazed area in
the Kgalagadi district in southwest
Botswana from 13,000 to 32,000 km2
between 1950 and the 1990s. Climate
and land use changes in the southern
Kalahari encourage dust emission,
and dust generation involves a balance
between the area becoming susceptible
to dust emission and depleted of its ne
sediment supply., Some of the major
pollutant sources in addition to those
highlighted above include power plants,
mines and industries in the major cities
and towns in Botswana.
e Bamangwato Consolidated Limited
(BCL) copper-nickel mine in Selebi
Phikwe has been a major source of
pollutants. Due to the towns growing
population, the mine and its smelter
plant are now in close proximity
to residential sites. Sources of air
pollution have been compounded by
the release of sulphur dioxide (SO2)
and other toxic gases from mining
activities, resulting in smoke released
Wiston

Journal of Health & Pollution Vol. 7, No. 15 — September 2017
Commentary
into the atmosphere, and respiratory
problems among the town residents.
Very oen, the air around the town and
surrounding areas would be clouded
with thick smoke—sometimes lasting
for more than 24 hours. Prior to its
closure in 2016, emissions occurred
at all stages, including tailing piles,
crushed and waste rocks/sand and
gaseous species from the smelter.
Morupule Power Station, located
about 6 km west of Palapye is another
major potential source of pollution.
is power plant generates electricity
using pulverized coal mined at the
Morupule Colliery (Ltd), just adjacent
to the station. e coal burns and
reacts with oxygen to produce gaseous
pollutants such as carbon dioxide,
carbon monoxide, SO2 and nitrogen
oxides (NOx [where NOx = nitric oxide
+ nitrogen dioxide]), which are then
released into the atmosphere through
tall chimneys. ere are two plants,
Morupule A and B, in operation next
to each other. Due to the increasing
demand for electricity and the country’s
eort to cut outside electrical supply
costs, the power station has been
upgraded. Electricity has mainly been
imported from Eskom (South Africa)
with a peak demand of 434 MW
satised through internal generation
and imports. e second plant
was constructed to assist with load
shedding that has been a concern in
recent years. Once fully operational,
Morupule B is expected to produce a
total of about 600 MW of electricity
(only about 132 MW is generated
from Morupule A), with an annual
requirement of about 3 million tons
of coal supply. Botswanas energy
demand was estimated at about 3660
GWh in 2008 (peak load of 500 MW),
and is projected to grow at about 6%
per annum, reaching 5300 GWh in
2017.
Although Botswana has not established
emissions standards for power stations,
the Air Pollution Prevention Act
of 1971 requires the application of
best practices to control emissions
from the site. e Botswana Power
Corporation aims to undertake an
environmental audit for the operation
as well as annual air quality monitoring
to address the problem. Necessary
measures are to be implemented to
ensure that operations from both plants
do not exceed the air quality standards
for Botswana or the World Bank. In
addition, there is another small coal-
red plant in Makoro manufacturing
face bricks from clay. Production
has now grown over the years and
supplies bricks to almost all parts of the
country. Clay is burnt with charcoal
(about 200 tons monthly) from the
Morupule Colliery mine. However,
there is no monitoring of pollutants at
or around the plant. According to the
plant authorities, all the products are
disposed of through chimneys from the
plant into the atmosphere.
ere are several stone and sand
crushing operations around the
country, crushing stones into dierent
particle sizes, from concrete to ne
sand. Large quantities of crushed soil
are normally piled in open spaces
and easily blown away by winds in all
directions. Most of the sites are not
fenced, other than the surrounding
vegetation that acts as ‘source sinks’ to
the wind-blown dust. e only form
of dust control is suppression from
the crushing machine and conveyor
belts. One example is the Nata-Phikwe
quarry, just adjacent to the copper-
nickel mine in Selebi Phikwe. Dust
generated from these operations poses
a potential health hazard, particularly
respiratory problems from inhaled
pollution. ese respiratory-related
tract problems are linked to eects
of air pollution from the mining and
smelting activities.
Another coal-red power station
(located in Mookane, about 100 km
south east of Mahalapye) is proposed
and is expected to be one of the largest
power plants in the country. Botswana
has considerable coal deposits—one of
the largest potential reserves untapped
in the world at over 212 billion tons.
ere are currently four commercially
signicant coal deposits (Morupule,
Mmamabula, Sese and Mmamantswe),
with an envisaged export industry
of at least 36–90 Mt/a. It is estimated
that as much as two-thirds of Africa’s
coal resources are found in Botswana.
Similarly, several other mining sites
exist around the country (e.g. diamond
explorations), which also generate
pollutants, some very close to townships.
In addition to the sites described above,
some cities and major towns around
the country also make a substantial
contribution to local air pollution.
For example, the largest and national
capital city (both administrative and
industrial) in Botswana is Gaborone,
located to the southeast. Main
pollution sources include fuel used in
various industries (e.g. brewing, soap
manufacturing, textile, cement bagging,
pipe manufacturing) and small-scale
chemical and other industries.
e biggest pollution source is gas-
produced steam from the coal-operated
factories, while non-industrial sources
include government institutions (e.g.
schools, hospitals, restaurants and
mobile food stalls) using coal/gas
energy sources and open burning of
waste and rewood, particularly during
the dry and cold winter. Despite the
technological advancement and growth
rate of the population, raw materials
are still used by large communities
as sources of energy. Residents oen
burn heavy, polluting fuel, including
rewood and cow dung for heat and
energy that can produce thick smoke.
In addition, the increasing trac
congestion in Botswana, particularly
in Gaborone, contributes signicantly
to air pollution. e main market for
imported vehicles is in Mogoditshane
Wiston
Status of Air Pollution in Botswana and Signicance to Air Quality and Human Health
 Journal of Health & Pollution Vol. 7, No. 15 — September 2017
Commentary
level. Ambient monitoring is concerned
with on-site measurements of major
emissions (e.g. particulate matter (PM),
NOx, SO2 and carbon monoxide).
Routine air pollution monitoring in
Botswana began in the mid-1970s,
with monitoring of SO2 gas from
three stations only., e number of
monitoring stations increased in 1995
and expanded to include pollutants
such as NOx and other substances,
and ground level ozone monitoring
began in 1996. e majority of
SO2 emissions have come from the
copper-nickel smelter at Selebi Phikwe,
while major towns with high trac
volume show signicant elevation
of NOx concentrations during peak
hours. Currently, there are several
air pollution monitoring stations
across Botswana, operating under the
DWMPC. Several studies undertaken
on the impacts of smelter emissions
showed serious impacts on both
vegetation and population in Selebi
Phikwe and surrounding villages,
although these studies did not quantify
the extent of the impacts.,,
Measured concentrations of SO2,
nitrogen dioxide and ozone indicated
potential impacts of air pollution
on vegetation and human health,
with the SO2 guideline exceeded
in Selebi Phikwe., Other studies
conducted on particle concentrations
in Gaborone resulting from biomass
burning indicated an increase in
particle concentrations of up to 1700
cm-3 and 1894 cm-3 during the peak
time of winter.,   Another study
conducted on indoor air pollution
from household fuels in Gaborone
from winter to spring (July–September
2007) showed that people from low-
income groups reported more health
eects than those in medium and
high-income groups. Although the
study was conducted in one part of
the city, particle concentrations were
increased due to the burning of raw
materials such as cow dung, wood,
(just adjacent to Gaborone in the west),
where almost all the vehicle imports
are sold or distributed. Consequently,
Gaborone is one of the most polluted
world cities in terms of air quality
rating according to 2000-2005 global
ambient air pollution concentrations
and trends, even though the country is
only averagely developed and is about
80% desert.
e second largest city is Francistown,
located in the northeast and close to
the country’s border with neighboring
Zimbabwe. ere are several industrial
and manufacturing operations in
Francistown, including Botswana
Meat Commission, mining and food
processors. Other sources of pollution
include a sorghum beer brewery
(operated by Botswana Breweries),
and small-scale industries. Coal-red
boilers, open burning and trac
emissions also signicantly contribute
to atmospheric pollution. Adjacent to
the city is the Tati copper-nickel mine
which employs many local people,
and the city is surrounded by other
villages. Located further south of
Gaborone is Lobatse, one of the fastest
growing industrial towns with several
industries and factories. Major sources
of pollution include the Botswana
Meat Commission (the largest meat
processing industry in Botswana)
and the Lobatse Clay works. Small-
scale sources include rewood from
cooking, open burning of refuse and
trac, which contribute to atmospheric
pollution in and around the town.
Air Quality Monitoring in Botswana
Air quality management is an
important tool for assessing the status
of air pollution in order to design and
implement standards for the control
and measurement of air pollution,
and to meet air quality objectives. Air
pollution mitigation strategies are
designed to identify pollution problems
and provide solutions at the town,
regional, national and international
plastic and Chibuku (local beer)
cartons for cooking and heating of
homes.
Mean PM concentration indexes
estimated for populations around
the world reported a PM2.5 air
pollution population exposure level
(% of total) of 45.44 in Botswana in
2013, exceeding the annual average
World Health Organization (WHO)
guideline.,, is index expresses
the percentage population exposed
to ambient PM2.5 concentrations
exceeding the WHO guideline value,
given as the portion of a country’s
population living in places where the
mean annual concentration of PM2.5 is
greater than 10 μg m-3. Overall, these
ambient concentrations could mask an
individual’s true exposure, which may
vary with an individual’s proximity to
the polluting sources during periods
when in use/operation or at work.
Table 1 shows threshold limits for some
common air pollutants in Botswana and
globally (WHO guidelines). Data are
shown for some of the major regulated
pollutant species that are regularly
monitored to assess pollution levels.
Challenges and Limitations to Air
Quality Monitoring in Botswana
As highlighted above, there are a
number of challenges with regard to air
quality monitoring, data collection and
information dissemination in Botswana,
as in most developing countries. Some
of these challenges include lack of
regular site visitation and monitoring
programs. ere remains a lack of
transparency in various aspects of air
pollution control, poor environmental
regulations or weak institutional
mechanisms to enforce regulation
ranging from euent disposal through
control and monitoring strategies.
In addition, regulatory operators
do not always adhere to existing air
quality rules and regulations. While
the DWMPC is the main body to
oversee, facilitate and implement
Wiston

Journal of Health & Pollution Vol. 7, No. 15 — September 2017
Commentary
of pollution due to rapid growth in its
urban population, industrialization
and rising demands for energy and
motor vehicles. e combined eect
of population dynamics and economic
development has a noticeable eect on
the environment in terms of increased
waste generation and poor waste
management.
Major issues that need to be addressed
include the extent and impact of air
pollution, development of future
problems, and required responses.
For example, under the Kyoto
protocol framework agreement,
industrialized countries are obliged to
cut their greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, air pollution is not
adequately considered in the planning
and placement of pollution sources
and residential sites; there is a lack
of mitigation measures and/or
non-operational emission controls.
Occupational safety and health policies
should be put in place and/or enforced
to educate the general public about
the impacts of pollution on health.
Workers should limit close contact
with pollutants where risky exposure
to contaminants is high, receive
regular medical checkups, and eective
occupational exposure programs
and environmental control measures
should be implemented. e linkage
between air pollution and health
eects needs to be fully developed,
especially in developing countries.
Strong legislation would go a long way
towards improving the safety of the
workforce and communities. Policy
makers (government and other stake
holders) need to advocate for pollution
impact education and implement
measures to mitigate the many adverse
eects of air pollution.
Acknowledgements
e author greatly acknowledges the
assistance oered by Mrs. Sephatla
(Morupule Power Station) in providing
information and a tour of the
the management and control of air
pollution, assessment must depend
on industries (polluting sources) and/
or individuals for data without regular
visitation and site assessments. is
can negatively aect the monitoring
of pollutants, especially where the
programs/instruments are inadequate,
posing a risk to the workforce.
If pollution in Botswana is not
regulated to specied levels, it can
lead to harmful eects. For example,
pollution may have long lasting eects
on general health and well-being; early
exposure in childhood may harm
lung development later in life. e
workforce and communities near
polluting sources may not be adequately
educated about pollution impacts or
the use of hazardous materials (e.g.
cooking/heating fuels). Similarly, most
air quality monitoring systems do not
fully address population exposure to
toxic pollutants and monitoring is
needed to determine if companies meet
their operational requirements. In
addition to these challenges, further
studies are needed on air quality and
pollutant concentrations, especially
around potentially polluted places and
regular check-up of monitoring stations.
ere are also a few limitations to the
present study. No measurement data
was collected or obtained from the
monitoring stations in the present study
which could be compared with real
world measurements. is highlights a
major concern in Botswana as data is
not readily available to researchers or
the public.
Conclusions
e combination of increasing
migration, motorization and
uncontrolled urban growth contributes
to the intensication of air pollution,
and has led to a concerning increase
in pollutant gases and particles. Like
many developing nations, Botswana
has experienced a signicant amount
Morupule power station premises.
Copyright Policy
is is an Open Access article
distributed in accordance with
Creative Commons Attribution
License (http://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by/3.0/).
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Wiston
Status of Air Pollution in Botswana and Signicance to Air Quality and Human Health
... The area surrounding Palapye consists of arid shrubland with sandy soils. Blowing and suspended dust from arid soils is an important source of coarse-mode particulate matter in this region [20], though traditionally dust is not a major source of PM 2.5 . Livestock is a major part of Botswana's economy [20], and this land is frequently used for cattle grazing as well. ...
... Blowing and suspended dust from arid soils is an important source of coarse-mode particulate matter in this region [20], though traditionally dust is not a major source of PM 2.5 . Livestock is a major part of Botswana's economy [20], and this land is frequently used for cattle grazing as well. Cattle and other livestock can be a source of ammonia, which is a precursor for PM 2.5 [21][22][23]. ...
... While the rest of Botswana also uses solid-fuel combustion for energy [25], no measurement studies have been performed outside of Gaborone. In addition to domestic biomass burning, Botswana has some industrial sources, such as metal processing and coal combustion [20]. A notable example near Palapye is the Morupule Power Station, a coal power plant with an adjacent coal mine to provide fuel for the power station. ...
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... Besides long-range air mass deposition, local emissions also contribute to the NO 2 atmospheric load. Over Gaborone ( Wiston, 2017 ) identified Morupule power station, biomass burning and coal dependency by industries as local emission sources of nitrogen oxides. Over the city of Harare (Mujuru et al., 2012) established that NO 2 peak in September recording a maximum of 72.7 μg/m 3 at one site. ...
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