The accurate measurements of volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere are vital, due to the reactive nature of these compounds with photons. Pollution activities such as photochemical smog and contribution as ozone precursors are well documented, due the contribution of many of the volatile organic components (VOC’s) released into the atmosphere. The South African air quality legislation includes the monitoring of VOC’s, which contribute to health problems such as respiratory diseases and cancer illness owing to the toxicity of the compounds. Since the establishment of national air quality program fourteen years ago, much of the monitoring has been focused on the primary pollutants such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). The program has been updated to include measurements of volatile organic compounds to inform the levels in the atmosphere and their contribution towards pollution.
This paper will describe the progress on the VOC data at backround level and some selected priority monitoring network stations.
I have a BSc honors degree in chemistry and I am a senior scientist at NMISA. I have been working for the Institute since 2008. I am responsible for development of volatile organic compounds reference gases, reactive gases and gas purity. I am the co-ordinator of proficiency testing schemes is South Africa air pollution monitoring. I am studying towards my masters of science degree. My long term objective is to establish a technical committee of volatile organic compounds in South Africa.