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Environmental Studies News

S Africa adds two new biosphere reserves to portfolio

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     10th June 2015 The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has designated the Magaliesberg and Gouritz cluster ecosystems, in South Africa, as biosphere reserves, bringing the country’s portfolio of such reserves to eight. Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said the... 

Greener energy sources for groundwater projects in KZN

By: Mia Breytenbach     29th May 2015 Clients are looking towards greener energy sources to drive groundwater abstraction and reticulation schemes in the rural parts of KwaZulu-Natal, according to the KwaZulu-Natal office of consulting engineers and scientists, SRK Consulting SA. SRK tells Engineering News that appropriate energy... 

Greener energy  sources for groundwater projects in KZN
Photo by Reuters
IMPERATIVE USE Private individuals in KwaZulu-Natal are largely using solar and wind technologies owing to their improving affordability

Position of strategic transmission corridors confirmed

By: Mia Breytenbach     15th May 2015 South African research institute the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in collaboration with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi) and State-owned power utility Eskom, has confirmed the final position of the five strategic transmission corridors in the... 

Position of strategic transmission  corridors confirmed
FUTURE BACKBONE The transmission corridors were identified in support of Strategic Integrated Project 10 pertaining to electricity transmission and distribution

Environmental groups take eThekwini municipality to court

By: RDM News Wire      5th May 2015 Environmentalists have turned to the Durban High Court to force the eThekwini Municipality to release oil companies Engen and Sapref's atmospheric emission licenses and compliance reports. The Durban South Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) and the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance... 

Environmental groups take eThekwini municipality to court
Sapref refinery

Industry lacks water security awareness, requires risk navigation

By: Mia Breytenbach     27th March 2015 Despite a global understanding and emphasis on water as a scarce resource, South Africa is not taking sufficient cognisance of the future risk of water security and its potential impact on business, and the domestic, industrial and mining sectors, says research and consulting firm EY climate... 

Industry lacks water  security awareness,  requires risk navigation
Photo by Bloomberg
DRAINING RESOURCE The World Economic Forum’s ‘Global Risks 2015’ report rates water crises as “the greatest risk” worldwide, with water scarcity also being a key risk

Gains made in fight against rhino poaching

6th March 2015 South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) secured a conviction rate of 61% in criminal cases related to rhino poaching during the 2013/14 financial year, said Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa. Speaking at a media briefing in January on the measures being taken to combat rhino... 

DST, Water Research Commission develop mobile water lab

By: Keith Campbell     20th February 2015 The Water Research Commission (South Africa’s national funding agency dedicated to water research and development) and the Department of Science and Technology are jointly running an innovation programme known as the Water Technologies Demonstration Programme (Wader). “Wader started last year,”... 

Renewable-energy projects necessitate careful planning – Birdlife SA

By: Dylan Slater     13th February 2015 Establishing electricity generation facilities, including renewable-energy facilities, necessitates careful planning to mitigate the risk to birds, other wildlife, the natural ecosystems and area-specific habitats, says bird conservation organisation Birdlife South Africa (SA).  

Renewable-energy projects necessitate careful planning – Birdlife SA
Photo by Reuters
COLLISION RISK Birds can be killed or injured if they collide with wind turbines or associated infrastructure such as power lines

Rhino ambulance to save poaching survivors  

By: Creamer Media Reporter      11th December 2014 Rhino conservation initiative Saving the Survivors has received more than R3-million from Dubai-based air services provider dnata – part of the Emirates Group – to acquire and operate a rhino ambulance.  

Rhino ambulance to save poaching survivors
Rhino ambulance to save poaching survivors

SA to double electricity generated through wind farms 

By: Bruce Montiea     28th November 2014 South Africa is creating the capacity to generate close to 2 GW of electricity from wind farms and, “within the next five years, this will more than double”, says Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies director, Professor Wikus van Niekerk. “South Africa was... 

SA to double electricity generated through wind farms
GENERATING ELECTRICITY The Jeffreys Bay wind farm started operating this year

The engineering and nonengineering challenges behind the salvaging of Costa Concordia

By: Keith Campbell     21st November 2014 The story of the salvage of the Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia, which took place from May 2012 to July 2014 (the refloated ship was towed into Genoa harbour on July 27, and is now being scrapped) is well known in general outline, as is the fact that the Salvage Master for the operation was... 

Proactive industry becoming reactive

By: Dylan Slater     14th November 2014 The professional planning part of the civil engineering industry is becoming increasingly reactive in terms of preplanning, instead of its primary, and preferred, focus of being proactive, says multidisciplinary engineering consulting firm GIBB. 

Proactive industry becoming reactive
CHARLOTTE VAN DER MERWE Planning-related professions need to bear accountability

Private sector urged to join global humanitarian interventions 

By: Sashnee Moodley     7th November 2014 The global capacity of the humanitarian community to meet the needs of communities affected by natural disasters, chronic emergencies, conflict, political crisis and the threat of new and recurrent diseases is being expended and it has become essential for the humanitarian community to not only... 

  Private sector urged to join global humanitarian interventions
UN World Humanitarian Summit chief secretariat Jemilah Mahmood discusses business participation in humanitarian efforts.

Industry body offers environmental impact assessments

By: Mia Breytenbach     31st October 2014 To raise awareness of the requirements of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations, as well as offer support to companies that are required to implement them, industry body the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) conducts these assessments for... 

Industry body offers environmental impact assessments
Photo by Bloomberg
INCREASING AWARENESS The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa started offering environmental impact assessments to industry in July

Industry increasing mass-balance approach – consulting firm

By: Mia Breytenbach     31st October 2014 The local engineering industry is increasingly undertaking a mass-balance approach for its production and environmental impacts, where it analyses resources at source or input level, calculates the outputs and weighs the difference against the impact reduction costs, states consulting engineering... 

Industry increasing mass-balance approach – consulting firm
Photo by Duane Daws
NEW IMPERATIVE The environmental legislations and practices are to assist and enhance the opportunities of development in the economy

Lions, elephants in need of database similar to rhino project, urges DNA pioneer

By: Irma Venter     28th October 2014 There is a need to develop a database for every threatened species in the world – not just rhinos, says Dr Cindy Harper from the University of Pretoria’s Veterinary Genetics Laboratory. Harper heads up the Rhino Index System (RhODIS), which houses DNA samples of thousands of dead, poached and... 

Lions, elephants in need of database similar to rhino project, urges DNA pioneer
Photo by UP
Dr Cindy Harper, at a fridge filled with rhino horn samples

Underground coal gasification roadmap on the way – FFF

By: Martin Creamer     27th October 2014 A roadmap for underground coal gasification (UCG) is on the way with its own association and charter, Fossil Fuel Foundation (FFF) stalwart Professor Lionel Falcon said at the weekend. Speaking at the FFF’s 20th anniversary awards banquet, Falcon said the UCG initiative followed the finalisation... 

Underground coal gasification roadmap on the way – FFF
Photo by Duane Daws
Fossil Fuel Foundations' Lionel Falcon

Big decline in vertebrate species over last 40 years, WWF warns  

By: Schalk Burger     24th October 2014 The World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF’s) 2014 Living Planet Index (LPI) indicates that there has been a 52% decline in vertebrate species since 1970. The Index tracked the trends of 10 000 discrete populations of over 3000 vertebrate species between 1970 and 2010. 

     Big decline in vertebrate species over last 40 years, WWF warns
WWF South Africa CEO Dr Morné du Plessis tells Engineering News' Schalk Burger about the WWF LPI 2014.

Particulate matter pollution problematic in some cities – DEA

By: Schalk Burger     17th October 2014 Particulate matter pollution remains a problem in major cities and industrial zones in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. The most populated and industrial areas are consistently above the Air Quality Act standards for particulate matter and significantly above new air-quality standards set... 

Asset management key to longevity

By: Dylan Slater     10th October 2014 Managing risk in the water services sector is key to the longevity and cost efficiency of South Africa’s water infrastructure, according to multinational professional services firm Arup. 

Asset management key to longevity
WATER IMPORTANCE The major problem with the current management of water infrastructure is a lack of uniformity

Stormwater infrastructure lacking

By: Dylan Slater     10th October 2014 A significant amount of stormwater infrastructure in South Africa is insufficient to handle the country’s rapid urbanisation, according to consulting engineers and scientists SRK Consulting South Africa. 

Stormwater infrastructure lacking
PETER SHEPHERD South Africa’s big cities have had a severe impact on river systems, with increasing urbanisation compounding the situation

Parties sign Vele colliery biodoversity offset agreement

By: Anine Kilian     9th October 2014 The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), South African National Parks (SANParks) and Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) on Wednesday signed a historic biodiversity offset agreement (BOA) for CoAL’s Vele colliery, in Limpopo. The biodiversity offset was aimed at strengthening cooperation between... 

Parties sign Vele colliery biodoversity offset agreement
Photo by Duane Daws
Vele colliery

DEA to tackle air monitoring station deficiencies

By: Natasha Odendaal     6th October 2014 The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is setting up an asset management system to ensure the optimal performance of the stations monitoring South Africa’s air quality, Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Barbara Thomson said on Monday. According to the recently released 2014 State of... 

DEA to tackle air monitoring station deficiencies

Rooftop garden to enhance food security 

By: Jonathan Rodin     22nd August 2014 Social housing provider the Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC) launched another sustainability garden, the Lake Success Food Garden, in Hillbrow, in June. The JHC has five similar projects in Hillbrow, Joubert Park, Troyeville, Newtown and Fordsburg, in Johannesburg, comprising rooftop gardens... 

Rooftop garden to enhance food security
Makhulong a Matala GM Lindi Malinga discusses rooftop gardens.

Carbon capture, storage only way to achieve lowest global warming trajectory 

By: Schalk Burger     22nd August 2014 Capturing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) is the only way through which the world will achieve the lowest of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) global warming predictions, called the representative concentration pathway (RCP) 2.6. The RCP 2.6 is based on the... 

Carbon capture, storage only way to achieve  lowest global warming trajectory
BOB SCHOLES To ensure that emissions plateau by 2020 and then decline until a net negative emission level is achieved by the end of the century, CO2 capture and storage in addition to major emission reduction efforts will be needed

Applications improve project decision-making

18th July 2014 High-tech computer applications for data management, mapping, modelling and imagery are assisting consultancy SRK Consulting in KwaZulu-Natal to present large amounts of data in a more accessible, visual format, allowing clients and stakeholders to quickly understand information, which increases... 

Rooftop garden to enhance food security 

By: Creamer Media Reporter      17th July 2014 From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, this is the Real Economy Report. Social housing provider the Johannesburg Housing Company recently launched another sustainability garden, the Lake Success Food Garden, in Hillbrow.  

Rooftop garden to enhance food security
Rooftop garden to enhance food security

Possible delays in EIA processing as DEA moves to new offices

By: Leandi Kolver     14th July 2014 Delays in the acknowledgment and reviewing of certain environmental-impact assessment (EIA) applications and reports were expected over the course of this month as the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) moved to its new premises on the corner of Soutpansberg and Steve Biko roads, in... 

Possible delays in EIA processing as DEA moves to new offices
Photo by Duane Daws
The new DEA building during its construction phase

SA’s green-jobs focus a good first step, but implementation needs work

By: Anine Kilian     27th June 2014 According to the New Growth Path (NGP) framework, which has been adopted as the framework for economic policy and the driver of the country’s jobs strategy, government has identified the green economy as one of the top 12 job drivers to assist in creating 300 000 additional direct jobs by 2020 in... 

SA’s green-jobs focus a good first step, but implementation needs work

Innovation Hub’s Biopark to open in third quarter

By: Irma Venter     19th June 2014 Phase 1 of the Innovation Hub’s Biopark@Gauteng is already filled to capacity, says Innovation Hub research, development and innovation GM Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela. The ten companies in Phase 1 of the Life Sciences Enterprise project will be able to move into the park in the third quarter... 

Innovation Hub’s Biopark to open in third quarter
Photo by Irma Venter
Phase 1 of the Biopark, currently under construction

Airbus marks scientific programme, first airliner milestones

By: Keith Campbell     23rd May 2014 European airliner manufacturer Airbus recently marked the 20th anniversary of its scientific research partnership with a number of international airlines and European universities and scientific institutions to gather atmospheric data. This programme was originally known as Mozaic (an acronym for... 

Habitat rehabilitation can boost ecosystems and create jobs

By: Schalk Burger     2nd May 2014 The continuous and active rehabilitation and remediation of habitats not only improves the robustness of the habitats and provides space for natural ecology to take place, but also creates sustainable employment, says Department of Water Affairs Crocodile river integrated water resource... 

Green economy could aid in global unemployment challenge 

By: Natasha Odendaal     9th April 2014 Transitioning to a green economy can help the world mitigate rising unemployment levels, particularly at a time when youth unemployment is peaking. Globally, in 2013, 202-million people were unemployed, up five-million on the previous year, said International Labour Organization (ILO) Green Jobs... 

Green economy could aid in global unemployment challenge

Climate change impacts cyclone prevalence and citrus production

28th March 2014 South Africa could be at increased risk of being directly impacted by topical cyclones within the next 40 years, report researchers from the University of the Witswatersrand (Wits). PhD candidate at the university’s school of geography, archaeology and environmental studies Jennifer Fitchett,... 

Power lines pose threat to SA vultures

By: Jonathan Rodin     7th February 2014 Cape vultures are adopting newly constructed power line pylons as roosting and breeding sites in areas where there are few natural perches. This is according to the study, ‘Do Power Lines and Protected Areas Present a Catch-22 Situation for Cape Vultures (Gyps coprotheres)?’, published on... 

Power lines pose threat to SA vultures
KERRI WOLTER Vultures form an important ecological component of our natural environment, cleaning up dead carcasses and decreasing the spread of some diseases

Sansa to install digital radar in Antarctica

By: Natasha Odendaal     29th November 2013 A team of scientists and engineers this week embarked on an Antarctic expedition on the SA Agulhas II to install and commission a new high-frequency digital radar system at the South African Antarctic research base. The South African National Space Agency (Sansa) said on Friday that the system... 

Sansa to install digital radar in Antarctica

Work under way to select onshore site for South Africa’s carbon capture and storage pilot

By: Schalk Burger     22nd November 2013 Academics, policy makers and government are in the process of developing the Pilot carbon dioxide (CO2) Storage Project (PCSP) that will demonstrate the potential viability of long-term carbon dioxide storage in deep underground geological basins and the project has been granted R197-million over... 

Work under way to select onshore site for South Africa’s carbon capture and storage pilot

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