How The Air Quality Act Impacts The Printing Industry


Printing SA held a webinar on 17 September on the Africa Print LIVE platform, explaining how printing will be regulated by the Air Quality Act. The proposed declaration of the printing industry in Section 23 places a requirement on a company to control emissions to atmosphere through capital investment in abatement technologies.

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) is engaging with Printing SA regarding the recently published notice for comment on 7 August 2020. The notice intends to regulate the printing industry to be declared as Controlled Emitters in terms of Section 23 of the Air Quality Act 2004. The deadline for comment was 7 September and Printing SA requested an extension to be able to solicit a comprehensive response. The department gave Printing SA an extension until 22 September 2020.

Panellists included:
– Olebogeng Sydney Matshediso, Control Environmental Officer at the Department of Environmental Affairs
– Tina Costas, Director of Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc.
– Dr Ian James, Director at WKC Group

Watch the full webinar below:

Below are the extra questions from attendees that were answered by Matshediso:

Q. Has the department conducted health study impacts of the printing sector? If so can they share them with us?

A. Health studies conducted by the department are not sector specific, thus no specific sector health study was conducted.

Q. Are HFO boilers included in this?

A. Boilers are controlled in a different Notice. The Notice published on 07 August 2020 is specific to printing industry activities.

Q. What is government doing to financially support this industry on the Capex cost or SRU or RTOs?

A. The NEMA polluter pays principle is given effect in all environmental regulations published. Government does not incentivise polluters on abatement. The regulations do however consider the socio economic implications, thus we work with stakeholders to ensure that an effective regulatory tool that meets the objects of sustainable development is put in place.

Q. Will you offer some relief with financial outlay in terms of the equipment we will have to purchase to comply. Maybe a tax benefit?

A. No, a polluter pays principle adopted in the environmental management laws in South Africa puts the burden of the cost to prevent or manage the negative environmental impacts on the polluter.

Q. Where can we find a list of all the sectors listed?

A. 10 sectors that are currently regulated can be found in the Notice on Listed Activities and Associated Minimum Emission Standards (Government Gazette No.37054, Notice No.893 of 22 November 2013).

Q. Has the department considered a tax specifically targeting organic solvents that contribute to secondary pollutant formation. This will motivate companies to move away voluntarily from using VOCs, and government will be able to raise some revenue in the process. It may be a win-win solution.

A. No, S23-25 of the NEM: Air Quality Act limits the Minister to establishing emission standards for activities declared as Controlled Emitters.

Q. There are huge job losses and closure of companies in the sector, with costs of mitigation strategies being very prohibitive. Should the department not be looking at increasing the VOC emissions to be pegged at 100 tons to assist the small and medium sized companies from not going out of business?

A. Whatever threshold that is decided will be primarily based on environmental protection, with socio economic implications taken into consideration.

Q. Can you please give more details on RTO Units generating NOx?

A. Thermal NOx is formed by the oxidation of ambient Nitrogen and nitrogen-containing VOCs in various combustion activities.

Tel: +27112871160

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