Air quality information only a click away

By Gabi Khumalo

Pretoria - South Africans will now have instant access to the latest information on air quality within their areas on their fingertips..

The South African Air Quality Information System (SAAQIS), launched by the Department of Environmental Affairs on Tuesday at the South African Weather Service, is a web-based interactive air quality information system, which will provide information on the state of air quality to citizens.

Through SAAQIS, all reporting stations will be able to verify their data and feed it directly into the system.

The system will contain the latest updated data of a location and can give the status of air quality or pollution according to the chosen day and time when checked on the website.

The department's National Air Quality Officer, Peter Lukey, said the country can now assess whether air quality is improving and also identify areas where potential air problems exist.

He said the country can now have universal access to a large and growing portion of South Africa's ambient air quality data in a useful and understandable format.

"For the first time, we have universal access to tools that facilitate the generation of tailor made ambient air quality information graphs for decision makers and decision shapers.

"We now have access to all available air quality legislation, newsletter, progress reports and information on the priority areas," said Lukey.

The website also contains air quality related documents for download, such as government gazettes, legislation, presentations, reports, as well as departments projects.

Currently, there are 95 government air quality monitoring stations with 42 reporting live.