A cost-effectiveness analysis of options for reducing pollution in Khayelitsha township, South Africa

15 August 2012

Average levels of PM10 pollutants in Khayelitsha, a poor informal settlement nears Cape Town, are unusually high. The contributory factors are the burning of household waste, wood and used tyres; vehicular emissions; and dust. This paper gives guidance towards selecting interventions for reducing these pollutants. The options include planting windbreak trees; paving roads and walkways; using cleaner sources of energy; and supplying additional refuse skips. Based on cost data collected from relevant municipal departments and service providers, over a 20-year planning horizon, the following are cost equivalents: planting between 419 and 936 windbreak trees; paving 6 685m2 of exposed areas; replacing between 451 and 870 wood-fired meat traders’ braai (i.e. barbecue) sets with gas braais; and providing a 6m3 refuse skip. On the basis of cost-effectiveness in reducing PM10 pollutants, this paper ranks the interventions as follows: (1) providing gas braai sets; (2) planting windbreak trees; (3) paving exposed areas; and (4) providing the refuse skip. Thus, providing gas braai sets to the meat traders in Khayelitsha will significantly reduce PM10 levels, but will also contribute to the sustained livelihoods of some of the poor households. However, planting windbreak trees may nevertheless be undertaken because of this option’s linkage to climate change initiatives, which open up a wide range of potential funding opportunities.