Particularly at this time of year, dust is the curse of desperate housewives. It is also the cause of sinus problems and lung irritations.
In areas where mining, farming and construction have stripped vegetation, dust whipped up by the spring winds chokes people, animals and young plants.
Dust suppression is normally carried out by spraying water on gravel roads or sandy surfaces, but this solution is extremely wasteful in a water-stressed country.
Drilling chemicals company Samchem has developed an alternative solution in the form of a product that penetrates road surfaces to give a stable road-surface layer. Called roads environmental dust suppressant, or Reds, it forms a hydrophobic (water-repelling) layer on the surface of unpaved roads, which requires less spraying.
Reds is initially sprayed once every two weeks, then once a month and eventually only once every two months, depending on road-surface conditions. After regular spraying, a build-up of wax emulsion occurs, providing a more effective and longer-lasting solution than water.
“It is a cost-effective alternative to spraying road surfaces with water, which in severe cases needs to be done twice a day and becomes expensive,” says Samchem marketing manager Belindé Mans.
An added advantage of dust suppression is that it reduces vehicle maintenance and can improve tyre life by up to 30%, she says.
“Reds is made with a wax-based chemical that is environmentally friendly,” says Mans. “It is not toxic at all and it’s not flammable.”
It is also biodegradable and does not harm crops or the soil.