The environmental significance of the introduction of new fuel legislation in South Africa
Meyer, Adele Maria
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In May 2002 the South African Department of Minerals and Energy announced that new fuel legislation will come into effect in 2006. The legislation entails the total phase out of leaded petrol and a reduction in the allowed sulphur level in diesel by January 2006. This mini-dissertation aims to determine the environmental significance of the changed legislation, focussing on the impact of the new legislation on air quality, the subsequent health impact and the secondary effects it may result in. It also suggests mitigation measures to ensure a significant positive impact on air quality. This mini-dissertation presents an overview of the initial introduction of lead to fuel, the global phase out of lead, and the phase out development in South Africa. The impact of the legislation on the different sectors of society is discussed. This includes the impact on the fuel manufacturing industry and the impact on motor vehicles and their owners. A discussion on possible additive alternatives is also included. The proposed implementation of the new South African Vehicle Emission Strategy together with the vehicle emission legislation is discussed. The South African health impact as a result of the reduction in lead is investigated comparing it to international tendencies. It is concluded that the implementation of the new legislation will be challenging in the light of South Africa's specific conditions. The long term effect on air quality is thought to be positive and would therefore potentially result in a significant improvement in general health. There may however be some interim problems with the older South African motor vehicle fleet. Mitigation measures will have to be implemented to ensure an effective implementation of the legislation.