The Waterberg area in Limpopo has been declared a national priority area by the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa. The declaration was published in the Government Gazette under section 18(1) of the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act 39 of 2004.
A priority area in terms of the Air Quality Act is an area in which ambient air quality standards are being exceeded, or may be exceeded or any other situation exists which is causing, or may cause a significant negative impact on air quality in the area. This may be the result of emissions from specific sources that may expose individuals to elevated risks of adverse health effects and contribute to the cumulative health risks of emissions from other sources in the area.
Right to a healthy environment
The area therefore requires specific air quality management actions to rectify or avoid the deterioration of the air quality, thus ensuring that the constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to health and wellbeing is upheld. The priority area covers the Bojanala district in North West and the Waterberg district in Limpopo and includes the municipalities of Thabazimbi, Modimolle, Mogalakwena, Bela-Bela, Mookgopong and Lephalale in Limpopo, and Moses Kotane in Rustenburg and Madibeng in the North West Province.
In addition to covering rapidly developing areas in the two provinces, the Waterberg priority area is also a proactive approach to potential trans-boundary air quality impact that may arise between South Africa and Botswana. This proactive approach is therefore in support of future sustainable development in the area, provides regulatory certainty, and ensures that air quality levels remain within the national ambient air quality standards.
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