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Figures contained in a detailed air quality report, show the Vaal Triangle’s air to be the most polluted in the country.

The findings were presented in Parliament by the Department of Environmental Affairs and show the Vaal Triangle’s air to be the most polluted.

This was followed by the coal fields of the Mpumalanga highveld and the third worst air quality can be found in and to the north of the Waterberg in Limpopo.

The worst air pollution in the country is in the suburb of Three Rivers in Vereeniging, and the nearby townships of Sharpeville (at Vanderbijlpark) and Zamdela (at Sasolburg).

On the Mpumalanga highveld, the towns with the most heavily polluted air are Standerton, Delmas, eMalahleni (formerly Witbank), Middelburg, Hendrina and Ermelo.

In the Waterberg region the towns of Lephalale (formerly Ellisras), Thabazimbi and Mokopane (formerly Potgietersrus) were singled out for their dirty air.

Generally, air pollution levels in South Africa have remained largely stable over the last few years.

Air quality is measured daily at 136 monitoring stations operated by the state and about 25 operated privately.

On top of the three worst areas already referred to above, there were a number of towns and neighbourhoods where air pollution reached unacceptable levels at least once (and in some cases more often) in the last year.

The areas were:

  • Phalaborwa,
  • George,
  • Bellville South,
  • Cape Town City Bowl, Cape Town Atlantic Seaboard, Goodwood, Khayelitsha, Table View,
  • Bedfordview,
  • Springs-Etwatwa, Springs Central,
  • Vanderbijlpark, Olifantsfontein,
  • Thokoza, Alexandra, Buccleuch, Soweto-Jabavu, Olievenhoutbosch,
  • Rosslyn,
  • Bloemfontein Central,
  • Port Elizabeth-Walmer,
  • Durban Central, Chatsworth, Durban-Wentworth,
  • Marikana and
  • Mahikeng.  

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