Eskom, successfully concluded its Masibambisane Air Quality Offsets outreach in Sharpeville on November 3, 2023. Through the Air Quality Offsets Project, Eskom focused on cleaning 12 of the largest dumping sites, ensuring the removal of harmful materials, reducing waste burning and promoting a cleaner environment.
The initiative aimed to raise awareness and educate residents of wards 12, 13, and 14 about the perils of air pollution caused by illegal dumping and burning of waste materials. The campaign, a joint effort between Eskom and the local community, witnessed the active participation of dedicated individuals determined to improve their environment.
Eskom actively collaborated with community members, providing them with opportunities for employment and empowerment. By participating in the clean-up efforts, residents not only contributed to their community’s cleanliness but also gained valuable knowledge about waste management.
An Air Quality official from Sedibeng Municipality emphasised the profound impact of illegal dumping and burning waste on human and environmental health. He stressed the importance of the Masibambisane Air Quality Offsets Campaign, highlighting its significance as an offset initiative targeting Sharpeville and neighbouring local municipalities near Eskom’s Lethabo Power Station. “No one chooses the type of air we breathe; however, we all have the choice to ensure that the air is of good quality,” he reiterated.
Local councillor of Ward 12, Cllr Mokolopo, expressed gratitude for the campaign’s positive influence on waste management in the community. He revealed that prior to the initiative, the municipality struggled with limited resources, operating only seven waste collection trucks for the entire area. This scarcity led to waste accumulation, illegal dumping, and burning of waste products. The Eskom’s Air Quality Offsets Project provided a much-needed solution by offering transportation and collection services, alleviating the burden on the municipality, and fostering a cleaner environment for all.
The Air Quality Offset project was introduced by Eskom as a result of the revised Minimum Emissions Standards (MES), which was published in 2013 by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) as part of the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act (NEMAQA).
The Act defines the maximum allowable emissions to the atmosphere within a defined range of pollutants and specific activities that can result in such emissions. In a quest to comply with the NEMAQA, Eskom applied for postponement of compliance timeframes contained in the MES. The amended Atmospheric Emissions Licences (AELs), specify that Eskom must implement an offset programme to reduce particulate matter pollution in the receiving environment.
The project was subsequently, specifically implemented to counterbalance the negative environmental impact of air pollution by introducing interventions to improve air quality within communities and directly reduce associated health impacts.
Eskom remains committed to its mission of fostering a cleaner, healthier environment for the communities it serves. The Masibambisane Air Quality Offsets Campaign exemplifies the power of collaboration between Eskom and the local community, showcasing the positive impact that can be achieved when communities unite for a common cause.
For assistance, resources, and information don’t hesitate to visit Eskom’s website.