Air quality monitoring and assessment programme for Botswana

An Air Pollution Monitoring and Surveillance Program (BAQMAP) is being developed, installed and tested for Botswana. The project is funded partly by NORAD and partly by the Botswana Government.
The project is undertaken in a co-operation between Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) in Norway and Department of Mines (DoM) in Botswana.

NILU shall provide professional assistance in the fields of:

  • Siting and establishment of an air pollution monitoring network.
  • Laboratory techniques, methods and routines.
  • Quality control and quality assurance procedures (QA/QC).
  • Emission data bases.
  • Statistical data analysis and reporting.
  • Atmospheric dispersion model estimates for air quality planning and impact assessment analysis.

The key features of the modern environmental information system is the integrated approach that enables the user in a user friendly way not only to access data quickly, but also to use the data directly in the assessment and in the planning of actions.

The demand of the integrated system to enable monitoring, forecasting and warning of pollution situations has been and will be increasing in the future. The data may also be used for generating input to dispersion models that enables exposure estimates, impact assessment and the evaluation of impacts to health and the environment.

One of the major air pollution sources in Botswana is the Selebe Phikwe BCL smelter, which is estimated to emit about 300 000 tonnes of SO2 per year. Model estimates, which have been performed in a co-operation between experts at NILU and DoM, indicate that a maximum annual average concentration can be found north-west of the smelter area. From preliminary results it is indicated that typical average concentrations of more than 200 µg/m3 can be found at distances up to about 7 km north-west of the smelter eara.

Air quality monitoring and assessment programme for Botswana

The first results from the monitoring programme also support that episodic high concentrations of SO2 have been observed at a site located about 15 km north-west of the Selebe Phikwe copper smelters.

The complete and modern monitoring system for Botswana also includes the larger city areas and will also cover emissions from waste burning, energy sources and traffic. The programme is proceeding to become a planning tool for environmental improvement, including consequence analysis and impact assessment capabilities.

Air quality monitoring and assessment programme for Botswana
Air quality monitoring and assessment programme for Botswana
The example above shows that in December 1996 six observations (1 h-average concentrations during 0.8% of the time) exceeded the World Health Organization Air Quality guideline value of 360 µg/m3 at Mmadinare, which is located about 15 km north-west of the copper smelter. They were all observed with winds from around south-east.

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