Air Pollution Analyst

An air pollution analyst is someone who is trained to research, inspect and investigate levels of air pollution, and to take the necessary steps to ensure good air quality so that public health concerns are addressed. 

Air pollution analysts conduct research, perform tests, collect samples, and perform field and laboratory analysis to identify sources of environmental problems and recommend ways to prevent, control and remedy these problems. 

Air pollution analysts assess the likely impact that potential activities, projects and developments mayhave on the environment, and recommend whether such developments should proceed. They develop and coordinate the implementation of environmental management systems to enable organisations to identify, monitor and control the impact of their activities, products and services on the environment. They conduct audits to evaluate the environmental impact of existing activities, processes, wastes, noises and substances. 

They assess the compliance of an organisation with government and internal environmental regulations and guidelines, and they identify violations and determine appropriate remedial action. They provide technical advice and support services to organisations on how best to deal with environmental problems in order to reduce environmental damage and minimise financial loss. They develop conservation plans. 

Air pollution analysts may work in indoor environments to determine the air quality in homes, businesses and government offices. They can work for ompanies that serve private citizens, or for government agencies that monitor conditions in the workplace. Those who work outdoors typically work for government agencies to monitor compliance with air quality regulations. They may use specialised equipment to measure air pollution, determine whether businesses are in compliance with local, municipal and government air quality regulations, and issue warnings to companies that do not comply.

Although air pollution control specialists can be found in all parts of the country, most work in urban areas where industry and traffic are heaviest.

Air pollution analysts therefore play a key role in evaluating and reducing the impact of air pollution on people and ecological systems. 

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate (matric), or equivalent with a Bachelor's Degree pass
Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics and Physical Sciences
Recommended subjects: Life Sciences 

In addition, check the university admission requirements to see if you qualify for the programme you want to do.

What to Study

There are various possible pathways for this occupation.

Degree: BSc Geography and Environmental Health Management – most universities.
BSc Chemistry – all universities.
BChemical Engineering - most universities.

Diploma: N.Dip. and BTech Environmental Health – universities of technology.

After completion of the National Diploma in Environmental or Public Health, the graduate could register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as an Environmental Health Practitioner, and then practise as an Environmental Health Practitioner in environmental pollution control. 

Postgraduate: BSc Hons or BScEng can be followed by MSc and PhD with coursework, and research into an area of interest.


  • government and state departments
  • laboratories, research institutions
  • tertiary institutions such as universities
  • non-profit organisations engaged in combating or preventing pollution
  • self-employed, as a consultant

Further Information

National Association for Clean Air (NACA)
17 Riverview
Brakfontein Road
The Reeds
Tel: 071 683 9770

South African Education and Environment Project
B15 Waverley Court
Kotzee Road,Mowbray, 7700
Tel: (021) 447-3610

SGS South Africa (Pty) Ltd
Huawei Office Park 
Building No 1

Western Service Road
South Africa
Tel: (011) 800-1000

Press releases, articles and links to related air quality, climate change, El Niño, and desertification websites. Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) carries out projects involving atmospheric pollutants and focuses on air quality. This is a useful service as it is difficult to find information on industrial and vehicle emissions, the impact of specific emissions, sources of air pollution data, and meteorological information for atmospheric modelling.

Getting Started

  • speak to air pollution analysts about their duties and responsibilities and ask if you can observe them at work
  • do research on this career
  • try to do voluntary work in this field

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

What Causes Air Pollution

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