A report on an investigation of environmental-health risks for developing low- to- moderate income housing on the city of Johannesburg's South former mining sites along the Main Reef Road

Mokoena, Tafita David
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Abstract This research focuses on developing former mining sites situated in the south of the City of Johannesburg that are contaminated with radon gas. This well-located land would be suitable for development of houses for low – to – moderate-income earners, preferably those living +10km away from the city centre. Former mining land has been developed in other countries both in Europe and in America. The results from international experience shows that houses had been developed on sites contaminated with radon and people had lived longer than 35 years without contracting lung cancer. The literature reviewed reveals that radon is the world’s second greatest cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke. There are local and international norms and standards that development of land contaminated with radon should adhere too. In South Africa, the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) sets the norms and standards for development of land contaminated with radon in which compliance with international norms and standards has been predetermined. Utilisation of the former mining land south of the City of Johannesburg will reduce development of houses at the periphery and will bring people closer to employment opportunities, amenities, transportation, services and facilities required for sustainable housing environment. Radon-contaminated land was visited, and surveys were administered to get different opinions from people who are close to mine dumps and those who are far from the Central Business District. The results show that people are interested and prepared to take the risk of living in areas contaminated with radon. The City of Johannesburg’s former mining land should therefore be considered to meet the goals of housing units. Therefore, former mining land should in future be developed for housing purposes, provided approval has been granted by the relevant government departments.
low-to-moderate income housing, environmental-health risk