‘Quarry trucks must not use Gabane Road’ - DWMPC Report
by Arnold Letsholo
The Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control (DWMPC) has undertaken a study to assess the levels of dust generated by trucks passing through Gabane Village to Mmokolodi quarry and Tloaneng Village.
The villagers had previously reported that dust from these heavy trucks was posing a threat to the villagers’ health. A detailed report on the issue has been released and recommendations made.
Compiled by Saidy Motladiile and Serwalo Mokgosi, the study’s objectives were to determine the amount of dust, termed ‘suspended particulate matter (SPM)’, along the gravel road and to compare it to Botswana Air Quality Objectives, and to advice as to whether the dust poses a significant health hazard to Gabane residents. The report is illustrated with pictures of the road signs that were not obeyed, covering of air bricks with papers to prevent dust from entering houses by the residents, as well as the impact of the dust on the plants. The health effects of dust on human beings, according to the report, include respiratory morbidity (Wheeze, reduced lung function) and mortality, cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and cancer.
“In a work carried out by Ibald Mulli continuous concentrations of total suspended particulates was found to be influencing systolic blood pressure of 1.79mm Hg per 90ug/m3 total suspended particulates while Heinch and Klem reported higher respiratory symptoms for areas with high concentrations of total suspended particulates,” explains the report of posed health hazards.
The road through the village has road signs indicating the size of vehicles to use the road. Vehicle 5tonnes and below have been designated to use the dirt road, but this is ignored as vehicles well above 5tonnes are using the road. Speed humps that had been place there by concerned residents have since been removed.
Further, during sampling period, no washing was seen on the washing lines of residents residing along the road as the dust would make clothes dirty. Washing is done at night when traffic has subsided.
The results for the study indicated that the dust generated by trucks passing through the village was 603.72ug/m. This value was three times the amount which is 200ug/m3 as set in the Botswana Air Quality Objective (BAQO). The toxicity potential was 3.02, a result which shows that the dust is having negative health effects on the residents residing along the gravel road.
The Report came up with both short and long term recommendations.
For the short term: Trucks should use the designated routes to Mmokolodi quarry and to Tloaneng Village; Trucks above 5tonnes should not use the road passing through the village; speed humps should be made in the road to limit the speed of the road users; the road should be watered from time to time to reduce the amount of dust produced and the Kweneng Council should take measures to ensure that the trucks use the designated routes to and from Tolaneng Village and the quarry.
As long term measure, it is recommended that there should be construction of tarred roads through the village and that health effects of dust on the residents should be established by the relevant authorities.