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Environmental Studies News

Nigerian lecturer awarded Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer research grant

By: Schalk Burger     9th November 2021 The $150 000 Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer (JWO) Research Grant has been awarded to Nigeria Federal University of Technology Akure (Futa) department of chemistry lecturer and researcher Dr Gideon Idowu, whose research helps policymakers and communities gain a better understanding of the effects of... 

Nuclear regulator assures that contamination incident at Koeberg did not involve reactors

By: Rebecca Campbell     8th November 2021 The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) on Monday assured that a reported incidence of airborne contamination at the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant (NNP) did not come from the nuclear reactor. Koeberg, which is owned and operated by State-owned national electricity utility Eskom, has two reactors and... 

The Koeberg power station

Skull of Homo naledi child discovered at Rising Star cave

By: Sane Dhlamini     5th November 2021 The first partial skull of a Homo naledi child, Leti, has been found in a remote passage of the Rising Star cave, in Johannesburg, by a team of international researchers led by University of the Witwatersrand Lee Berger. Two papers have been written about the discovery of parts of the skull and... 

New methods, technology key in driving net zero goal

By: Anna Moross     22nd October 2021 The South African road infrastructure and construction industry can learn from international markets and apply several key lessons on its journey to achieving the goal of net zero, ensuring a balance between emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere, says consulting engineers... 

An image of Marshall Muthen WSP in Africa’s highways, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and rail director
MARSHALL MUTHEN South Africa can futureproof the road network infrastructure and its construction by taking digital roads into consideration to achieve the net zero goals and implement digital technologies

Technologies play powerful role in climate change efforts

By: Anna Moross     22nd October 2021 Technology is a critical accelerator in the efforts to implement climate change actions, and according to South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) energy efficiency and data & knowledge management GM Barry Bredenkamp, there is a major shift in the design of energy-consuming... 

An image of Barry Bredenkamp, the energy efficiency and data & knowledge management GM at Sanedi.
BARRY BREDENKAMP Small- and large-scale renewable-energy technologies solutions are also developing at a rapid rate and digitalisation is inevitable

Cape Town fights alien trees threatening its water supply, biodiversity

By: Reuters     18th October 2021 In South Africa's Franschhoek mountains a helicopter drops off abseilers to cut down invasive pine trees that are choking off water supplies to millions of Cape Town residents already facing climate change-induced shortages. The crews are there to help to remove 54,000 hectares of alien trees by... 

Gas-to-power crucial to South Africa’s energy future 

By: Halima Frost     15th October 2021 Multinational conglomerate General Electric Company (GE) Gas Power strategy & growth director Michael Konadu tells Mining Weekly that although there is no one solution to decrease South Africa’s carbon footprint, gas-to-power will be integral in the mix. He explains that South Africa’s Just... 

A large Gas Power Combined Cycle power plant designed by GE at dusk
TURNING TABLES The gas turbines offered by GE Gas To Power decrease a clients emissions substantially making a dent on its carbon footprint

US to donate further R134m in Covid-19 assistance to S Africa

By: Sane Dhlamini     8th October 2021 US Chargé d’Affaires Todd Haskell announced on Friday the donation of about R134-million (or $9-million) in urgent Covid-19 assistance from the US to South Africa to boost the country’s vaccination drive.  This forms part of additional support from the American Rescue Plan Act and complements the... 

Image of the US flag

UPL asked to pay for public forum on South Africa pollution

By: Bloomberg     6th October 2021 UPL, an Indian producer of chemicals used in agriculture, will be asked to pay for the establishment of a forum that will keep the public informed about developments relating to a spill of hazardous chemicals in the South African city of Durban. The so-called multi stakeholder forum will be set... 

Eskom is now world’s biggest sulphur dioxide emitter, CREA says 

By: Bloomberg     5th October 2021 Eskom Holdings, South Africa’s coal-reliant power utility, has become the world’s biggest emitter of sulphur dioxide, a pollutant linked to ailments ranging from asthma to heart attacks, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said. Eskom produced 1 600 kilotons of the pollutant in... 

Eskom Coal Fired Power station

Durban chemical company had no environmental authorisation to operate plant, report finds 

By: News24Wire      4th October 2021 United Phosphorus Limited (UPL) had no environmental authorisation to operate its Cornubia chemical factory, nor did it obtain risk assessment and planning permissions as required by environmental and municipal by-laws, a preliminary report has found. Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister... 

Atlas project to be finalised

By: Cameron Mackay     1st October 2021 Local wind energy collaboration the South African Wind Energy Programme (SAWEP) is in the final stages of completing the Wind Atlas for South Africa (WASA) Phase 3 project this year, says SAWEP project manager Andre Otto. SAWEP is a multiyear technical assistance project, funded by the Global... 

Carbon tax ineffective against major emitters

By: Darren Parker     1st October 2021 South Africa’s “laughably weak and ineffective” carbon tax regime is no disincentive to carbon-intensive businesses, such as integrated chemicals and energy company Sasol, environmental activist organisation Greenpeace Africa climate and energy campaigner Thandile Chinyavanhu tells Engineering... 

A photo of a Sasol plant emitting pollution into the air while crops and flowers grow in the foreground
Photo by Reuters
PINING FOR CHANGE Greenpeace Africa ponders whether a just transition is possible while major emitters continue to be granted large-scale carbon tax allowances

Association releases new training manual

By: Halima Frost     17th September 2021 Last month, South African Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (Saracca) released its updated training manual, which will be implemented, from this month onwards, by heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) training providers throughout South Africa.... 

Metal pipes of a correctly installed pipe system for the HVACR system
HOW TO... The association has released a new installation manual which will be used by training providers form this month

Refrigeration system to cut energy costs available

By: Halima Frost     17th September 2021 With South African retailers looking for ways of recovering from the latest lockdown, as well as the looting and vandalism, an opportunity to decrease costs on the system that comprises the bulk of their energy spend, which is refrigeration, has arisen. “All food retailers rely on refrigeration... 

A large solar installation on a clients roof installed by EP Refrigeration, which is grid-tied and decreases the clients reliance on grid power
LIGHT WORK Adding a solar installation to a company's refrigeration unit deceases the cost of running the unit off grid power alone

Global citrus demand increases refrigeration demand

By: Halima Frost     17th September 2021 A global increase in demand for South African-grown citrus, as well as more export regulations, has resulted in a substantial increase in demand for refrigeration capacity, says local refrigeration manufacturer EP Refrigeration business development head Dawie Kriel. “We not only need to add... 

A roof top refrigeration system installed by EP Refrigeration at a produce packing house
FRUITFUL SERVICES An increased need for refrigerated storage and transport capacity in the citrus sector is being addressed by EP Refrigeration

Solar-powered 4x4s are totally transforming safaris

By: Bloomberg     14th September 2021 For Sipps Maswanganyi, a safari guide with 20 years of experience in the African bush, it was one memorable sighting that sold him on electric safari vehicles. “I could hear this buffalo panting heavily deep in the bushes,” recalls Maswanganyi, head guide at Cheetah Plains, a luxury outfit in... 

Biodiversity can serve as nucleus for enabling sustainable development at peace with nature

By: Schalk Burger     24th August 2021 A focus on biodiversity can serve as the nucleus to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as biodiversity looks at people, prosperity and a healthy planet through effective partnerships, says United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) South Africa resident... 

Australian miners accelerate green investment amid net-zero flurry

By: Esmarie Iannucci     13th August 2021 With the rise of environmental activism and greater investor interest in environmental and social governance, Australian miners and the Australian government have started to give greater priority to emission reduction schemes and environmental investments. The federal government in 2020... 

Image of Engineering News and Mining Weekly cover

eThekwini, DFFE helping UPL with Cornubia chemical clean-up efforts

By: Schalk Burger     26th July 2021 The eThekwini municipality, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) and specialists from the municipality, the department and the private sector are advising and helping chemical company UPL to clean up the spill that happened in Cornubia, Durban, following the recent... 

Report suggests 10% reuse of plastics will halve such ocean-going litter

By: Donna Slater     22nd July 2021 A key finding of the ‘Future of Reusable Consumption Model’ report suggests that it is possible to prevent almost half of yearly plastic ocean waste by reusing just 10% of all plastics consumed, as an integral part of the reduce-reuse-recycle agenda. The report – a collaboration between... 

Creecy 'deeply concerned' about air quality, marine ecosystems after fire at Durban chemical plant

By: News24Wire      22nd July 2021 The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment said it was concerned about the impact of a chemical fire at the UPL chemical plant in Cornubia, Durban, on air quality and marine ecosystems. The plant was torched during the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal last week. "We are deeply concerned... 

Durban beaches closed after chemical spill, possibly unrest related

By: News24Wire      16th July 2021 Beaches near Umhlanga have been closed, following a chemical spill in Durban. The spill appears to have originated from a chemical warehouse fire in Umhlanga that was caused during unrest that gripped KwaZulu-Natal this week. Other sources are being investigated. 

Holistic strategy needed to tackle growing marine plastic crisis

By: Donna Slater     16th July 2021 As the marine ecosystem plays an critical role in mitigating climate change, through absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2), cooling the environment and sustaining delicate marine wildlife, it is becoming increasingly important to mitigate a mounting problem – the leakage of plastic waste into Oceans and... 

Image of Engineering News and Mining Weekly 16 July 2021 cover.

How climate change is driving adoption of technology in agriculture

By: Marleny Arnoldi     9th July 2021 Environmental phenomena such as climate change and its manifestations, including extreme weather events, are featuring more prominently on the risk radar of investors, banks and commercial farmers, as agricultural activity intensifies in order to provide sufficient food for a growing population.... 

How climate change is driving adoption of technology in agriculture

Biggest China bank walks away from $3bn Zimbabwe coal plan 

By: Bloomberg     30th June 2021 China’s biggest bank has dumped plans to fund a $3-billion coal-fired power plant in Zimbabwe, in a blow to a two-decade effort to develop the project, according to a coalition of 32 environmental groups. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China told Go Clean ICBC, which includes environmental... 

MTN joins new coalition to drive green actions

By: Natasha Odendaal     28th June 2021 Information and communications technology group MTN has joined the Every Action Counts (EAC) coalition, which aims to empower one-billion “green champions” by 2025 and harness the power of green consumer behaviours to enhance biodiversity and climate efforts. The new coalition, launched by the... 

Pandemic has presented ‘economic reset’ opportunities

By: Sane Dhlamini     23rd June 2021 Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Boitumelo Moloi said on Wednesday that while the Covid-19 pandemic has been catastrophic, it has, in many ways, presented a lot of economic reset opportunities in the process. She was addressing delegates at the launch of Switzerland's Institute of... 

Pandemic has presented ‘economic reset’ opportunities

South Africa Presidential body recommends lower emissions target

By: Bloomberg     22nd June 2021 A panel appointed by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recommended that the world’s 12th-biggest producer of greenhouse gases improve its target for reducing emissions, three people familiar with the matter said. In a draft report, the Presidential Climate Change Coordinating Commission,... 

President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela wins Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship 2020 award

By: Sane Dhlamini     21st June 2021 The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust has awarded writer and scholar Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela the prestigious Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship 2020 award. This year the Trust celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award. 

Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela

Kenya Airways subsidiary using drones to support wildlife census

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st June 2021 Kenyan national flag carrier Kenya Airways’ subsidiary Fahari Aviation participated in the Tsavo Ecosystem Wildlife Census, which was coordinated by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the recently created Wildlife Research and Training Institute, with financial support from the Kenyan... 

Fishermen, oyster farmers fear power-generating ship will kill business

By: Reuters     18th June 2021 A floating gas-turbine generator meant to alleviate South Africa's crippling power cuts has run into objections by oyster farmers and small-scale fishermen, who fear the environmental damage will destroy their livelihoods. The seafood sellers fear the 415 MW ship - to be moored for two decades at... 

Global atlas of freshwater life will use eDNA to tackle extinction crisis

By: Simone Liedtke     17th June 2021 A global atlas of freshwater life will use environmental DNA, or eDNA, to tackle the extinction crisis through the eBioAtlas programme, which will gather data at scale to support conservation, unlock investment and inform world biodiversity policy. The International Union for Conservation of... 

Large methane leak detected over South Africa coal mining region

By: Bloomberg     16th June 2021 A cloud of methane was detected by satellite near coal mines in South Africa, drawing attention to a lesser-known environmental risk that comes from using the dirtiest fossil fuel. The potent greenhouse gas — methane traps roughly 84 times more heat than carbon dioxide in its first two decades in... 

Large methane leak detected over South Africa coal mining region

Suppliers to lose contracts for failing to cut carbon emissions – study

By: Donna Slater     15th June 2021 A new study by financial services provider Standard Chartered reveals that multinational companies will cut suppliers for failing to curb carbon emissions, with 78% of multinational corporations (MNCs) planning to cut ties with suppliers that endanger their carbon transition plans by 2025. For... 

Big oil must work harder to slash Africa emissions, WoodMac says

By: Bloomberg     15th June 2021 Oil majors need to curb emissions in sub-Saharan Africa -- where almost half of their most polluting assets are located -- as investors demand greater efforts to slash carbon output, according to Wood Mackenzie. Crucially, the companies must reduce gas flaring -- the process of burning off gas... 

French funding to assist in better biodiversity management at Table Mountain

By: Marleny Arnoldi     31st May 2021 South African National Parks (SANParks) has signed a bipartite agreement with French development agency Agence Française de Dévéloppement (AFD) for funding to preserve biodiversity in South Africa. The AFD is providing €1.85-million biodiversity efforts in South Africa and Reunion Island.... 

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