Authors: V Nkosi, J Wichmann & K Voyi

Keyword: air pollution, air quality, South Africa, air pollution and health

SDG: SDG3, SDG11

BACKGROUND. Pollution arising from mine dumps in South Africa (SA) has been a source of concern to nearby communities. OBJECTIVE. To investigate whether comorbidity of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases among elderly persons (?55 years) was associated with proximity to mine dumps. METHODS. Elderly persons in communities 1 - 2 km (exposed) and ?5 km (unexposed) from five preselected mine dumps in Gauteng and North West provinces in SA were included in a cross-sectional study. RESULTS. Exposed elderly persons had a significantly higher prevalence of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases than those who were unexposed. Multiple logistic regression analysis indicated that living close to mine dumps was significantly associated with asthma + hypertension (odds ratio (OR) 1.67; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.22 - 2.28), asthma + pneumonia (OR 1.86; 95% CI 1.14 - 3.04), emphysema + arrhythmia (OR 1.38; 95% CI 1.07 - 1.77), emphysema + myocardial infarction (OR 2.01; 95% CI 1.73 - 2.54), emphysema + pneumonia (OR 3.36; 95% CI 1.41 - 7.98), hypertension + myocardial infarction (OR 1.60; 95% CI 1.04 - 2.44) and hypertension + pneumonia (OR 1.34; 95% CI 1.05 - 1.93). CONCLUSION. Detrimental associations between comorbidity of the health outcomes and proximity to mine dumps were observed among the elderly in SA.