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Environmental Studies News

Company ventures into land restoration beyond mining research

By: Marleny Arnoldi     18th February 2021 Private company Inzuvect, trading as LNR Forest Estate, has partnered with forestry expert Merensky Timber to research ecosystem restoration on mining properties. LNR will, from the first week of March and over the next decade research and, in due course, implement solutions to ensure... 

Environmental affairs dept investigating elevated levels of sulphur in Gauteng, Mpumalanga

By: News24Wire      18th February 2021 The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries will on Thursday visit the Sasol plant in Secunda which is suspected to be behind a sulphuric smell that is enveloping parts of Gauteng and Mpumalanga since the weekend. "While there are many sources in the area that could be contributing to... 

Environmental affairs dept investigating elevated levels of sulphur in Gauteng, Mpumalanga

SAHRC recommends Emfuleni municipality be placed under administration amid ongoing Vaal river pollution 

By: Schalk Burger     17th February 2021 The South African Human Rights Commission warns that the Vaal river, "Gauteng's most vital water resource", may have been irreparably damaged and recommends that the Emfuleni municipality be placed under administration and that public servants, municipal administrators and staff who failed to... 

SAHRC recommends Emfuleni municipality be placed under administration amid ongoing Vaal river pollution

SA fails to make progress in Corruption Perceptions Index

By: Sane Dhlamini     28th January 2021 Civil rights group Corruption Watch pointed out, on Thursday, that corruption has impacted the ability of countries around the world, including South Africa, to manage their health care responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Recent statistics from the Corruption Perceptions Index reveals that... 

SA fails to make progress in Corruption Perceptions Index
Photo by Creamer Media
Executive director of CW David Lewis

Satellites successfully used to count wild elephants

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st January 2021 A team of scientists from British and Dutch universities have, for the first time, used satellite imagery combined with ‘deep learning’ (data processing artificial intelligence) to successfully count large animals in complex and varied terrestrial landscapes. Previously, this approach had been... 

53% of adults think schools should not re-open amid rising Covid-19 infections – survey

By: Sane Dhlamini     13th January 2021 Round three of the University of Johannesburg/Human Sciences Research Council Covid-19 Democracy survey has revealed that 53% of adults think schools should not re-open until the situation concerning the coronavirus pandemic improves. Schools are due to open on January 27 as infections continue... 

53% of adults think schools should not re-open amid rising Covid-19 infections – survey

Assessment tool helps developers minimise wind turbine risk to eagles

By: Marleny Arnoldi     6th January 2021 Researchers from the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology (Fitztitute) at the University of Cape Town (UCT), HawkWatch International and the University of Amsterdam have developed a new tool that offers developers more accurate guidance on where to safely build wind farms to prevent birds... 

Assessment tool helps developers minimise wind turbine risk to eagles

Six ecosystem research sites selected for freshwater and terrestrial environmental observation network

By: Schalk Burger     11th December 2020 The National Research Foundation's (NRF's) South African Environment Observation Network (SAEON) has selected six ecosystem research sites across the country for the Expanded Freshwater and Terrestrial Environmental Observation Network (Efteon). “South Africa’s investment in Efteon is a major... 

Materials recovery facility to capture up to 30% of Cape Town recyclable waste

By: Schalk Burger     11th December 2020 A specialised materials recovery facility to be built at the Coastal Park landfill site, in Muizenberg, will separate and prepare recyclable materials - 20% to 30% of waste by volume - as well as use electricity from landfill gases and use processed building rubble in bulk earthworks and as a... 

Materials recovery facility to capture up to 30% of  Cape Town recyclable waste

Wits, York University to develop AI Covid-19 project

By: Sane Dhlamini     3rd December 2020 The University of the Witwatersrand has teamed up with York University, in Canada to undertake an artificial intelligence project that will be used to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in Africa. The project will be carried out by the Africa-Canada Artificial Intelligence and Public Health Data... 

Wits, York University to develop AI Covid-19 project

UP conducts real time emissions testing to help inform policy

By: Marleny Arnoldi     23rd November 2020 The Centre for Transport Development, within the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, has acquired a system that can measure vehicle emissions while driving. The portable emissions measurement system (Pems) unit is a first for... 

UP conducts real time emissions testing to help inform policy
An engineering student and Professor Johan Joubert alongside UP's portable emissions measurement system

WEF seeks to start a multistakeholder dialogue on deep-sea mining

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     11th November 2020 A new way to meet the growing demand for minerals critical to electric vehicle, electronics and battery manufacturers could become commercially available within this decade, says the World Economic Forum (WEF). It notes that significant public and private investment have gone into investigating... 

WEF seeks to start a multistakeholder dialogue on deep-sea mining

NGOs call on global investor climate initiative to intervene in Sasol shareholder issue

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     10th November 2020 Nongovernmental organisation Just Share, supported by shareholder activist organisations ShareAction (UK), Majority Action (USA), Follow This (Netherlands) and the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), has written to Climate Action 100+ (CA100+) − the world’s largest investor... 

UFS, CBSS partner to design groundwater monitoring network for Central Karoo 

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     5th November 2020 Independent specialists and researchers from the Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS) at the University of the Free State (UFS), in partnership with specialists from Carin Bosman Sustainable Solutions (CBSS), have been appointed by the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA) to design a... 

Ekurhuleni ready to exchange ideas during World Town Planning Day

By: Sane Dhlamini     5th November 2020 The City of Ekurhuleni will join the world in commemorating World Town Planning Day on November 8, bringing together role-players in the planning fraternity to exchange ideas that improve city planning. This year’s World Planning Day, also known as World Urbanism Day, will be commemorated under... 

Ekurhuleni ready to exchange ideas during World Town Planning Day

WWF launches plastics report, encourages deeper collaboration to end pollution

By: Donna Slater     4th November 2020 All actors in the plastics value chain have a role to play in dealing with the plastic pollution challenge, and while there are various policies and actions in place, independent conservation organisation the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says little can be achieved without deep collaboration,... 

New coral species discovered on seabed prized for mining potential

By: Reuters     29th October 2020 Three species of black coral have been discovered on the seabed of the northern Pacific Ocean, an area where several countries have contracts to explore for metals including cobalt and nickel as they race to find new supplies of the key battery elements. The corals were discovered on deep... 

S Africa must put into effect revenue collection – Haroon Bhorat 

By: Sane Dhlamini     16th October 2020 University of Cape Town Professor Haroon Bhorat said on Friday that for South Africa to manage its deficit going forward, apart from hoping that growth gets kickstarted in the remaining part of the year, it has to move quickly in effecting revenue collection. Bhorat, who is also a member of... 

S Africa must put into effect revenue collection – Haroon Bhorat

Habitat destruction has decimated Côte d’Ivoire’s forest elephant population

By: Rebecca Campbell     16th October 2020 A new study by researchers at the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny d’Abidjan-Cocody in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) has reported a large-scale and disastrous decline in the country’s forest elephant population. The study was published in the open-access journal “PLOS ONE”. It is probable that, in... 

Expansion set for completion

By: Halima Frost     16th October 2020 Multidisciplinary consulting firm Zimile Consulting Engineers has announced that the expansion of the R14-million bulk water supply project in Underberg, for the Harry Gwala district municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, will be completed and handed over by the end of this month. “The project addresses... 

Expansion set  for completion
UPHILL BATTLE One of the challenges faced during the project entailed an uphill installation which Zimile Consulting Engineers successfully completed without complications

Tech helps address nonrevenue water loss

By: Halima Frost     16th October 2020 According to a rough consensus derived from its end customers and partners, about 38% of South Africa’s produced water is non-revenue water, but water technology company Xylem Water Solutions South Africa says its key technologies assist in addressing this challenge. Non-revenue water is water... 

Tech helps address nonrevenue water loss
SMART DETECTIVE The Smart Ball water leak detection an assessment tool can be deployed without having to disrupt the flow within the system

Proactive national water programme on the cards 

By: Halima Frost     16th October 2020 The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), in partnership with various government departments, is addressing the country’s water woes with the development of a proactive national water programme that aims to offer tangible solutions to municipalities, the relevant government departments and... 

Proactive national water programme on the cards
DBSA disruption specialist Johann Lübbe and infrastructure finance specialist Konstant Bruinette discuss the progress being made on a new national water programme that the DBSA is developing.

Opinion: Black-blade mitigation – a new and exciting mitigation for wind turbines to reduce impacts to birds of prey

9th October 2020 In this opinion piece, ecologist, environmental consultant and conservation biologist Dr Rob Simmons writes about black blade mitigation can help wind farms to prevent thousands of bird deaths each year. The renewable energy industry promises green energy that comes with numerous benefits to the... 

Opinion: Black-blade mitigation – a new and exciting mitigation for wind turbines to reduce impacts to birds of prey
Photo by Bjorn Iuell
The black-blade set up on a cloudy day in Norway. The black-blade (far turbine) is little different to the shadow cast by the all-white blades in the foreground.

Environmental organisations call on govts to halt fossil fuel investment, shift to renewables

By: Simone Liedtke     8th October 2020 Environmental organisations Greenpeace India and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) have called on governments to immediately halt investment in fossil fuels and shift to cleaner energy sources, such as wind and solar. The organisations have simultaneously requested that... 

ArcelorMittal commits to becoming carbon neutral by 2050

By: Reuters     30th September 2020 ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, committed on Wednesday to being carbon neutral by 2050, although it said a level playing field with green border adjustments and abundant, affordable clean energy would be required to get there. The company, which makes around 5% of the world's... 

Inequalities hamper remote learning in S Africa – UCT study

By: Sane Dhlamini     23rd September 2020 A recent University of Cape Town study has revealed that technical and vocational education and training students are faring worse than university students in terms of internet access for remote learning. The study was conducted by researchers Dr Nicola Branson, Emma Whitelaw and Samantha... 

Inequalities hamper remote learning in S Africa – UCT study

Govt undertakes rhino conservation efforts as world celebrates Rhino Day

By: Yvonne Silaule     22nd September 2020 As part of efforts to commemorate World Rhino Day, on Tuesday, and to protect South Africa’s rhino populations, government has launched a number of conservation initiatives. Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy has announced the Integrated Wildlife Zone initiative, which... 

Govt undertakes rhino conservation efforts as world celebrates Rhino Day

Cameroon seeking to build $3bn dam to export electricity

By: Bloomberg     18th September 2020 Cameroon will build a $3-billion hydropower plant as part of an ambitious plan to make the central African nation an exporter of electricity by 2035. The 810 MW Grand Eweng project on the Sanaga river, a joint venture between the government and the US-based energy company Hydromine, is the fifth... 

CSP towers’ impact on birdlife lower than expected, can be reduced

By: Marleny Arnoldi     11th September 2020 A study conducted by Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of AgriSciences has found that the 50 MW Khi Solar One facility, near Upington, is impacting on the surrounding bird life, but not to the extent expected. It is also possible to reduce the impact that concentrating solar power (CSP) towers... 

CSP towers’ impact on birdlife lower than expected, can be reduced
Khi Solar One plant, in Upington

Private reserves support public reserves in protecting carnivores

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th September 2020 Research undertaken in South Africa’s Kwazulu-Natal province by an international team of wildlife ecologists has not only confirmed the value of privately-owned nature reserves and game farms in conserving free-ranging carnivorous animals but also highlighted the fundamental role of formal... 

Research makes clear that protected areas are crucial to conservation

By: Rebecca Campbell     9th September 2020 A study led by researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia has highlighted the importance of protected areas for wildlife conservation. Indeed, many endangered mammal species are dependent on these protected areas for their survival. “Since the 1970s, the global network of protected... 

Research makes clear that protected areas are crucial to conservation
Photo by Kaziranga National Park
The Greater one-horned (or Indian) rhinoceros is now totally dependent on protected areas for its survival

Scientists ascertain oceans are absorbing more carbon dioxide than previously believed

By: Rebecca Campbell     7th September 2020 An international research team led by scientists at the University of Exeter in the UK has determined that the world’s oceans are absorbing significantly more carbon dioxide than previously believed. The team also included scientists from the University of the Highlands and Islands, the... 

Opinion: Can the private sector deliver government’s proposed infrastructure plan?

1st September 2020 In this opinion article, Vantage GreenX MD Alastair Campbell, who spent 25 years as an investment banker and who manages the R5-billion GreenX Debt Funds, says the renewables programme has proved that the private sector will invest in South African infrastructure once policy certainty is... 

Opinion: Can the private sector deliver government’s proposed infrastructure plan?
Alastair Campbell

Private reserves in SA contribute to protection of carnivores but formal parks remain key

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th August 2020 Research undertaken in South Africa’s Kwazulu-Natal province by an international team of wildlife ecologists has confirmed the value of privately-owned nature reserves and game farms in conserving free-ranging carnivorous animals but also highlighted the fundamental role of formal (national and... 

Private reserves in SA contribute to protection of carnivores but formal parks remain key
Photo by Gonçalo Curveira-Santos
A Leopard photographed by one of the research cameras

Camden power station resumes operations

By: Creamer Media Reporter      27th August 2020 Operations at the Camden power station resumed on August 27 after a four-month shutdown. The shutdown was implemented to relocate ash from an unsafe dam at the station. 

South Africa first to test key biodiversity areas

By: Donna Slater     25th August 2020 In 2019/20, South Africa became the first mega diverse country to practically test the Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) standards across a full range of species groups and ecosystems. The KBA Standard was developed in 2016 by the global conservation community to identify the most important sites... 

Elon Musk is going to have a hard time finding clean nickel

By: Bloomberg     24th August 2020 Elon Musk promises a “giant contract” with the miner that can supply nickel for Tesla Inc. batteries at low cost with minimal environmental impact, yet the industry’s messy track record may make that deal difficult to clinch. Recent accidents such as a diesel spill in Arctic Russia and a burst... 

Elon Musk is going to have a hard time finding clean nickel
Elon Musk
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