Published: Tuesday 15 May 2001

Residents of Zamdela town in the Sasolburg province of South Africa are fighting against air pollution. Under the apartheid rule, many petrochemical plants and oil refineries located in Zamdela were not disclosing information regarding their pollutant emissions. But now the situation is changing. With the help of environmental organisations, the residents have formed a 'bucket brigade' that collects air quality samples with the help of easy-to-use and inexpensive bucket testing devices. The bucket serves as a rugged enclosure for standard air sampling bags. Testing of samples taken from the vicinity of industrial plants of Sasol, South Africa's industrial giant, and several other companies, revealed the presence of 16 potentially dangerous chemicals. Environmentalists are dismayed that none of the national environmental enforcement agencies have started monitoring pollution levels and the government is doing nothing to combat the sad situation.

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