The Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) would launch a study into its carbon footprint, by the second quarter of this financial year, the company said on Friday.

Speaking at an environmental stakeholder breakfast, Acsa head of environmental safety Musa Dlamini said that the carbon footprint study would initially focus on four airports, namely the OR Tambo International Airport, the Cape Town International Airport, the George airport, and the Upington airport.

“With all our operations there is a need for the use of a resources such as energy, and we continuously monitor the consumption of the energy,” Dlamini said.

He said the study would be conducted in three phases. The first phase would focus on filling any information gaps, while the second phase would see the actual study being conducted around the carbon footprint of the priority airports. The final phase would be the implementation of the study recommendations.

Dlamini said there was no set target date for the completion of the study, however, he noted that the first phase of the study was likely to take between one and two years to complete.

Meanwhile, Acsa has undertaken to install a self-monitoring system at the OR Tambo International Airport to assist in the monitoring of priority pollutants such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (Nox).

The airport currently had a system monitoring the ambient air quality around the airport, however, the system was located outside the airport grounds and picked up emissions from the industrial area to the west of the airport, as well as the highway running in front of it.

“In terms of the results that we get from the station so far, we haven’t recorded any major exceeding figures from this station, except for instances where there have been problems with the calibration of the equipment. Obviously because this is an ambient air quality station it takes readings of other sources such as the industrial area on the western side of the airport, as well as the highway running in front of the airport. All these emissions are put together and the pollution is put into the air, and you get a different reading all together around the airport. However, it doesn’t mean that the airport is actually the main source of air pollution in the area.”

It was thought that the self-monitoring system would give the airport, and Acsa a better idea as to the main sources of pollution at the airport itself.