State-owned Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) says its Port of Ngqura, in Port Elizabeth, has been the only port with green status in South Africa and it maintains this status through a number of measures.
These measures include unique biodiversity conservation programmes.
The Port Environmental Authorisation, which requires bi-annual audits by independent environmental control officers, has bestowed the port with high levels of compliance of above 90%, to date.
Among the port’s environmental conservation measures are poison-free methods and natural predators to manage and control the rodent population in the port. For example, owls have been deployed in strategic areas around the port and rodent bait stations are filled with nonpoisonous bait, such as sunflower seeds, to trap rodents.
TNPA preserves the most sensitive and threatened South African vegetation types found in the port, such as Bontveld and Messic Succulent Thicket, which provide habitat for a number of endemic species.
Further, TNPA has undertaken fish monitoring since before the port’s construction. This is conducted by a team of researchers under the Bayworld Centre for Research and Education. The research is complemented by a tag and release programme.
The research is aimed at investigating the composition and abundance of fish, with the most recent results indicating that the port is serving as a nursery for fish and gully sharks.
TNPA undertakes a search and rescue exercise for animals and plants before any construction takes place. For example, before building TNPA’s admin craft basin, the port had to relocate a number of endemic pigmy hairy footed gerbils to ensure they were not negatively impacted on by the construction.
Other environmental initiatives that promote sustainable development in the port include rainwater harvesting for ablution purposes and marine mammal monitoring programmes.