Emissions management and health exposure: should all power stations be treated equal?
MetadataShow full item record
At the centre of all air quality regulation stands the right of humans to an environment that is not harmful to health and well-being. In many developing countries, including South Africa, coal-fired power station emissions are managed both from an ambient air quality and minimum emissions standpoint. Ambient air quality standards and minimum emissions standards (MES) are often in conflict with one another, as power stations in which vicinity ambient air quality standards are met still have to comply with a blanket set of MES. In developing countries this often leads to the unnecessary incurrence of already constrained financial resources. This study proposes an alternative emissions management strategy where potential human health exposure is used as a decision-making basis on which power station emissions control is founded. The potential human health exposure of population groups to primary particulate matter with a diameter of 10 μm or less (PM10), secondary sulphurous and nitrous particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions are calculated and compared for 13 power stations in the highveld of South Africa. It was found that the potential human health exposure to individual power stations differ substantially. It is suggested that it makes more sense both from both a human health and fiscal perspective that emissions from coal-fired power stations be managed on an individual power station basis, especially in developing countries