The Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Develop-ment Planning’s communications and marketing manager, Aziel Gangerdine, says that the department has developed a climate change strategy and action plan, which position the Western Cape favourably to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation projects.
This strategy and action plan aim to tackle climate change challenges through the drafting of the Sustainable Energy White Paper and include the release of guidelines and reports on climate change and resource efficiency.
Further, a Solar One-Thousand pro- ject is, as the project name indicates, providing 1 000 solar water heaters to various communities, as part of a pilot scheme to stimulate the solar geyser industry in the Western Cape. Solar water heaters have already been installed at Riversdale, Elsies River, Nyanga, Atlantis, Prince Albert, Oudtshoorn and Mossel Bay. Based on the success of this project, the department will install another 300 solar water heaters, in Darling, in 2010, as part of the Danida-funded 2010 Green Goal climate change mitigation project that will contribute towards mitigating the estimated 180 000-t carbon dioixide footprint for Cape Town.
The department has also commissioned a training programme for 240 people in the fabrication and installation of solar water-heating systems. About 197 unemployed persons, mainly from the recipient communities, have to date been trained in solar geyser installation in an attempt to tackle the skills shortage in the solar water-heater industry.
Meanwhile, according to the 2002 Baseline Study of Waste Management in the Western Cape, the province generates more than 8,8 m3 of waste yearly. Cape Town alone generated 2,8-million tons of general waste during 2008 and 2009. Gangerdine notes that waste generated in Cape Town is growing on average at a rate of about 7% a year, with a population growth rate of between 3% and 4%.
In an effort to tackle the challenge of waste management, the Western Cape participates in the Cleanest Town Competition, initiated in 2001, which aims to improve waste management services by municipalities and the physical conditions of the Western Cape. Gangerdine explains that, while district municipalities do not form part of the national competition, the Western Cape government decided to acknowledge the support that district municipalities render to their respective local municipality government.
“Provincial winners are rewarded with a small transfer payment to tackle integrated waste management through waste-reduction efforts, awareness and education initiatives,” he explains.
The criteria for evaluation are focused on the physical condition of the municipality and the support systems it offers to the provincial government. Special focus is placed on waste-reduction programmes, community mobilisation and public–private partnerships.
The Western Cape’s provincial Air Quality Management Plan, which guides the development and implementation of air quality management initiatives throughout the province, was developed following a public participation process. The plan will be launched during March 2010 and will be implemented over the next four years.
The Western Cape Atmospheric Emissions Inventory is also currently being updated to include all point, area and mobile sources of air pollution. This project seeks to identify and quantify all emission sources within the Western Cape, with specific focus on identifying sources of toxic and hazardous air pollutants as well as greenhouse gases. The outcome of this project will inform policy and future planning on air quality management and climate change mitigation strategies in the province.
Meanwhile, responsible chemicals management is one of the key areas of engagement between the provincial government and industry. “During 2009, the department developed a Quick Reference Guide on Responsible Chemicals Management for the chemicals sector, as part of the 2Precious2Pollute programme’s industry series. This interactive guide provides information on the handling, storage, use, transport and disposal of chemicals,” says Gangerdine.