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Environmental Studies News

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 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

Human-induced climate change potentially detrimental to emerging economies 

By: Natasha Odendaal     15th November 2013 Emerging countries would feel the “catastrophic” impact of ever-increasing human-induced climate change more than developed economies, World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA) CEO Morne du Plessis said on Friday. As the effects of climate change increasingly become more visible, South... 

Human-induced climate change potentially detrimental to emerging economies

Global Carbon budget to 2100 may be depleted by 2034  

By: Natasha Odendaal     4th November 2013 In the next two decades, the world would exceed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change- (IPCC-) established carbon budget, limiting global warming to 2 °C by 2100, the latest PwC Low Carbon Economy Index revealed on Monday. Despite a rapid move to adopt renewable energy worldwide, efforts... 

Global Carbon budget to 2100 may be depleted by 2034

Innovative cell structure converts a record 44.7% of sunlight into electricity

By: Schalk Burger     11th October 2013 A new world record of 44.7% of sunlight was converted into electricity by a photovoltaic panel using a new solar cell structure with four solar subcells last month, says German research organisation Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems department head and development project leader Dr... 

Stunted relationships undermining water governance in rural areas

By: Schalk Burger     13th September 2013 Damaged relationships and stunted professional networks are negatively affecting effective water governance, says research institution Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Water Governance Group (CSIR WGG) senior researcher Dr Richard Meissner. The CSIR WGG is studying water governance... 

South African honeybees killed unnecessarily

By: David Oliveira     23rd August 2013 South Africa is not experiencing honeybee shortages like Europe and the US, where in some parts of those countries up to 80% of honeybee colonies are reported as collapsed, says association for the plant science industry CropLife South Africa consultant Dr Gerhard Verdoorn. A honeybee shortage is... 

New map offers visibility of all renewable-energy project applications

23rd August 2013 A new map detailing the applications for environmental authorisation to build renewable energy projects in South Africa has been released, says research organisation Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) project leader Paul Lochner. “This is the first time that a publically... 

 New map offers visibility of all renewable-energy project applications

CSIR unit concludes passive energy efficiency study, moves to continue research  

By: Samantha Herbst     23rd August 2013 The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR’s) Build Environment unit has signed its second memorandum of understanding with chemicals giant BASF to continue researching passive energy efficiency in new buildings. The CSIR concluded a two-year performance research project earlier,... 

CSIR unit concludes passive energy efficiency study, moves to continue research
CSIR Built Environment senior researcher Llewellyn van Wyk discusses the results of a two-year passive energy-efficiency study.

Five-year research project to study irrigation management

By: Zandile Mavuso     9th August 2013 To increase water availability and land productivity, which will cater for the increasing human population, a new project by the Water Research Commission (WRC) will record information about the irrigation management of ryegrass/kikuyu pasture under different pasture management conditions.  

Five-year research  project to study  irrigation management
RYEGRASS PASTURE PRODUCTIONThe WRC is investigating irrigated pastures to determine the water use and irrigation requirements of the most common farming practices, including those pertaining to kikuyu/ryegrass, legume/ryegrass mixtures and lucerne

SA moving to secure its share of world aquaculture growth

By: Samantha Herbst     26th July 2013 South Africa’s aquaculture industry, though still in its infancy, has been identified by government as a key priority sector because of its potential to supplement dwindling wild-caught fish stocks with cultured fish products. 

SA moving to secure its share of world aquaculture growth

Varsity team develops ecofriendly shark barrier

14th June 2013 A team of Stellenbosch University researchers, led by Botany and Zoology head of department Professor Conrad Matthee, has developed an effective alternative to shark nets. “Shark nets lead to the deaths of sharks and other marine animals. The team has developed an eco-friendly shark barrier that... 

Forestry group moves ahead plan to integrate Sabie site, extract more value 

By: Samantha Herbst     10th May 2013 Forestry and forest products group York Timbers is hoping to break ground early next year on its R1.5-billion site integration project at its Sabie facilities, in Mpumalanga, once it receives a record of decision from the Department of Environmental Affairs on its environmental-impact assessment... 

National Treasury tables carbon tax policy paper for final comment 

By: Natasha Odendaal     2nd May 2013 South African industry have until August 2 to comment on the carbon tax proposals tabled by the National Treasury on Thursday. The Treasury aimed to promulgate a phased-in tax rate of R120/t of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), increasing 10% a year during the first phase, in an attempt to curb... 

Coega IDZ embarks on natural rehabilitation experiment

By: Natasha Odendaal     26th April 2013 The Coega Development Corporation (CDC), Uhambiso Consult and WBHO Construction have partnered to undertake an “environmental experiment” at the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) over the next 12 months. The baseline study, funded by the Uhambiso/WBHO joint venture, entailed a natural... 

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