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Environmental Studies News

Black rhino population doubles owing to concerted conservation

By: Donna Slater     3rd April 2020 Nature conservation organisation, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), reports that the world population of black rhino has risen from about 2 500 in the 1990s to 5 600. Independent conservation organisation, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) attributes some of that... 

Africa to face new challenges amid Covid-19 outbreak

By: Donna Slater     31st March 2020 The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa will probably look different from what has been observed in other parts of the world, as the continent's demographic is unique and different to other countries, according to a new publication by management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group... 

Covid-19 may exacerbate the abuse of power – Corruption Watch  

By: Sane Dhlamini     31st March 2020 Not-for-profit organisation Corruption Watch on Tuesday released its yearly corruption report with executive director David Lewis  saying South Africans should not expect corruption to lessen during the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s report is themed “The Writing is on the Wall” and shows... 

Covid-19 may exacerbate the abuse of power – Corruption Watch
Corruption Watch executive director, David Lewis

Black rhino population increases by 800

By: African News Agency      24th March 2020 The number of critically endangered black rhino in the wild have increased by nearly 800 over a six-year period, according to a statement released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The black rhino population across Africa has grown at a modest annual rate of 2.5% from an... 

Water ‘crisis’ needs private-sector intervention

By: Darren Parker     13th March 2020 It is essential for the private sector to proactively contribute more towards the upliftment of water infrastructure and services in South Africa, said water engineering company Talbot economist Mike Smith and Talbot strategic director Helen Hulett during a seminar on South Africa’s water... 

Water ‘crisis’ needs private-sector intervention
Photo by Bloomberg
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL If the private sector invests in water infrastructure projects, it can help ensure water security

Water security needs diverse, flexible systems

By: Darren Parker     13th March 2020 As climate change increasingly poses a risk to water security, the flexibility and diversity of bulk water distribution and the effective management of these systems are essential to secure future water supply. “Water security depends on the systems that are in place to manage it. Risk is system... 

Water security needs diverse, flexible systems
Photo by Creamer Media
A SALINE SOLUTION One way of ensuring a guaranteed supply of clean water is through desalination, as is done in Namibia

Carbon storage vital to chemicals projects

By: Cameron Mackay     13th March 2020 With the global drive to meet climate targets and mitigate the devastating effects of climate change, carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a vital emissions reduction technology for the chemicals and petrochemicals industry, says international think-tank Global CCS Institute advocacy and... 

Carbon storage vital to  chemicals projects
Photo by Bloomberg
DECARBONISING INDUSTRY Efforts from government and industry are needed to address carbon emissions from chemical and petrochemical production and the use and disposal of chemical products

Medupi's killer fumes: The story of a power station's missing air scrubbers 

By: News24Wire      3rd March 2020 Eskom's megapower station Medupi is suffocating South Africa in more ways than one: It is not just a financial black hole; it is also a health and environmental catastrophe. And the installation of crucial technology to make it less poisonous has once again been delayed. For years, Eskom has... 

Medupi's killer fumes: The story of a power station's missing air scrubbers

Water challenges flagged as potential deterrent to investment

By: Natasha Odendaal     28th February 2020 Amid growing uncertainty on the rising cost and scarcity of water, infrastructure gaps and the potential of water-shedding, water and other environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks are increasingly looming large on the radar of ratings agencies. South Africa stands at the cusp of another... 

Eskom faces closure threat at biggest working power plant 

By: Bloomberg     25th February 2020 Eskom Holdings is battling to keep all the units of its biggest operational power plant open after being served with a compliance notice by South Africa’s environment ministry because of its high levels of air pollution. The indebted power utility has failed to fully repair pollution-abatement... 

Eskom faces closure threat at biggest working power plant

South Africa's permission for ACWA plant expires, lawyers say

By: Bloomberg     19th February 2020 ACWA Power has been informed by the South African government that its environmental authorisation to build a 306 MW coal-fired power plant in the country has expired, according to lawyers opposing the project. The authorisation for the Khanyisa coal-fired plant lapsed on October 31, 2018, and the... 

Skills shortage plagues natural refrigerant sector

By: Darren Parker     14th February 2020 One of the most pertinent issues facing the local heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) industry is the lack of specialised skills needed for the systematic adoption of natural refrigerants in place of traditional synthetic refrigerants. Heightened pressure on... 

Skills shortage plagues natural refrigerant sector
SNEAKY LEAKS Refrigeration systems charged with odourless CO2 need to be monitored with sensors to ensure leaks do not compromise air quality in enclosed spaces

Renewed call to ban disposable cylinders

By: Darren Parker     14th February 2020 Despite various heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) industry participants contesting the banning of disposable gas cylinders in South Africa for years, there is no indication of a decision on the matter being reached. South African Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning... 

Renewed call to ban disposable cylinders
TIME TO SCRAP THIS PRACTICE Disposed cylinders create about 3 150 m3 scrap metal and can explode if not thoroughly evacuated

World emissions kept in check as rich nations kick coal habit

By: Bloomberg     11th February 2020 Global emissions from energy held steady in 2019 for the first time in three years as developed nations continued to move away from coal power and toward renewable energy and natural gas. Even as the world economy grew, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions remained at 33.3-billion tons.... 

'Drastic' fall in bumblebee populations shocks scientists

By: Reuters     7th February 2020 When scientist Peter Soroye first saw the figures showing estimated bumblebee populations in North America had fallen by nearly 50% in a single generation, he thought it must be a typo. He checked the numbers - the result of a long-term analysis of bumblebee populations published in the journal... 

'Drastic' fall in bumblebee populations shocks scientists

Kruger National Park sets traps for tree-killing beetles

By: Yvonne Silaule     6th February 2020 Game reserve, the Kruger National Park, has warned tourists and residents from local communities to burn wood in the locality of where they find it to avoid the spread of the polyphagous shot-hole borer (PSHB), a type of beetle that has been spreading across South Africa and killing trees. The... 

Kruger National Park sets traps for tree-killing beetles

DRC to benefit from rise in global copper demand  

By: Kim Cloete     5th February 2020 Canadian mining company Ivanhoe Mines chairperson Robert Friedland is capitalising on the rising need for more copper globally, with a mission to restore the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC's) position as the number one producer of copper metal in the world. Friedland told the 2020 Investing... 

DRC to benefit from rise in global copper demand
Ivanhoe Mines chairperson Robert Friedland addresses the Investing in African Mining Indaba. Video and editing: Nicholas Boyd.

Creecy invites comment on extending EAP registration deadline  

By: Marleny Arnoldi     27th January 2020 Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy has published, for public comment, a notice of her intention to amend the Section 24H Registration Authority Regulations of the National Environmental Management Act. This is aimed at extending the date for the compulsory registration... 

EV pilot programme can help Rwanda go green

By: Cameron Mackay     24th January 2020 Electric mobility through electric vehicles (EVs) in Rwanda can help the country in its efforts to go green, says Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA) CEO Thomas Schäfer.  This comes after Volkswagen launched a pilot project in the country in October last year, where it introduced its first EV in Africa. 

EV pilot programme can help Rwanda go green
Photo by Creamer Media
THOMAS SCHÄFER Africa will develop in many ways with cooperation. We need to learn to work together across the continent, find shared value, and ways of collaborating

Children across South Africa learn about renewables in vernacular

By: Simone Liedtke     21st January 2020 English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Setswana speaking children across South Africa are learning about the role that wind power is playing as the world transitions to renewable power for a cleaner, healthier planet through a beautifully illustrated story book, named Let the Wind Blow. The South African... 

Children across South Africa learn about renewables in vernacular

World risks 'disaster' as reuse of natural resources declines

By: Reuters     21st January 2020 The proportion of raw materials the world is reusing has fallen, researchers said on Tuesday, warning of a "global disaster" as annual consumption of natural resources rose to 100-billion tonnes for the first time. Just 8.6% of the 100-billion tonnes of materials – including minerals, metals,... 

South Africa has huge 'green fuels' potential. But it needs to act now

10th January 2020 In this opinion piece, first published in The Conversation, professors David Walwyn and Rod Crompton make the case for South Africa to pay greater research and development attention to the production of green hydrogen using a combination of wind and solar power and electrolysers. In addition,... 

South Africa has huge 'green fuels' potential. But it needs to act now

Additional renewable energy development zones proposed

13th December 2019 The second phase of the Strategic Environmental Assessment for wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) energy in South Africa proposes three additional renewable energy development zones for wind and solar PV energy projects. The renewable energy development zones support the responsible implementation... 

Additional renewable energy development zones proposed
RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT ZONES The Phase 2 proposed zones support the responsible implementation of the Integrated Resource Plan 2019

Water project underway and making progress

13th December 2019 Last month, the official ground-breaking function for Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) took place and was attended by Kingdom of Lesotho Minister of Water Samonyane Ntsekele and South Africa Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. “Implementing Phase... 

Water project underway and making progress
DAM BIG PROJECT The site of the 2.3-billion-cubic-metre Polihali dam

Environmental studies essential to REIPP success

By: Darren Parker     13th December 2019 In most renewable-energy independent power producer (REIPP) project cases, environmental sensitivities can be successfully avoided if developers embrace advice given by environmental consultants during the environmental impact assessment (EIA) stage. This enables developers to better ensure that... 

Environmental  studies essential  to REIPP success
NOT WINGING IT Embracing the advice given by professional environmental consultants early on can lead to the avoidance of many environmental issues

4IR could lead to ‘profound changes’, says German embassy

By: Simone Liedtke     10th December 2019 The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) would “radically transform the working environment” and affect almost every industry and country and, in so doing, lead to “profound changes in systems, production and government”, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to South Africa cooperation head... 

4IR could lead to ‘profound changes’, says German embassy
Photo by Creamer Media's Dylan Slater
Embassy of Germany cooperation head Fabian Kyrieleis

Waste management, recycling needed for sustainability

29th November 2019 Waste management and recycling practices play an important role in South Africa’s sustainability drive. With the conservation of resources being the responsibility of all governments, South Africa introduced the Carbon Tax Act with the aim of reducing carbon emissions by 34% by 2020 and 42% by 2025. 

Waste management, recycling needed for sustainability
AGAIN AND AGAIN Nampak has undertaken to recycle and reuse plastics in their plight to produce sustainable packaging

Company launches first plastics research centre

By: Halima Frost     29th November 2019 Specialist chemicals company Clariant last month announced the inception of its EcoCircle centre of excellence, based on its plan to offer significant support to reduce, reuse and recycle. The first such centre will be based at Clariant’s Masterbatches Business Unit in Pogliano, Italy, and aims... 

Company launches first plastics research centre
BACK TO GREEN The EcoCircle center of excellence brings with it support of the reduce, reuse and recycle concept

Innovation key in reducing sector impact on environment

29th November 2019 The energy and electrical sectors should be at the forefront of innovation to reduce its impact on the environment, says diversified power management company Eaton South Africa’s Energy Saver System business development manager Marcel Buckner. “This at a time when the world’s focus is... 

Innovation key in reducing sector impact on environment
GOOD GAS The Xiria switchgear system does not use harmful sulphur hexafluoride gases

Research grant awarded at environment conference 

By: Halima Frost     29th November 2019 Stellenbosch University research fellow Dr Hayley Clements was announced as the recipient of the inaugural Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Research Grant last month at the tenth Oppenheimer Research Conference held in Midrand, Gauteng. The research grant was set up to honour the late Jennifer Ward... 

Research grant awarded at environment conference
Oppenheimer Generations research head Dr Duncan MacFadyen discusses the Oppenheimer Research Conference and the recipient of the Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Research Grant

Water-treatment technology launched in Amsterdam

By: Halima Frost     29th November 2019 Earlier this month, flow control, filtration and environmental technology supplier Flowrox launched its Flowrox Corona non-thermal plasma water-treatment technology at the Aquatech expo, in the Netherlands. The Flowrox Corona was selected as one of the finalists for the Aquatech Innovation Award... 

Water-treatment technology launched  in Amsterdam
PURI-FECT The Flowrox Corona uses cold plasma technology to purify wastewater before being reintroduced into the environment

Solaris-based biodiesel introduced to operations at OR Tambo

By: Simone Liedtke     28th November 2019 Various entities on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for Project Reya Foya, the follow up to Project Solaris, which will introduce Solaris-based biodiesel into the ground-handling operations at OR Tambo International Airport. Solaris is a nicotine-free tobacco plant used by... 

Solaris-based biodiesel introduced to operations at OR Tambo
A Solaris seed pod

Thirty JSE-listed companies embark on biodiversity valuation assessments

By: Simone Liedtke     25th November 2019 Thirty JSE-listed companies, across various sectors, are being supported by a World Wide Fund for Nature-South Africa (WWF-SA) Nedbank Green Trust project team to assess their current levels of biodiversity mainstreaming into their strategies and activities. The assessments are supported by the... 

Fuel for rockets, Zeppelins points toward green heat solution 

By: Bloomberg     18th November 2019 It’s the most nettlesome problem in the quest to ditch fossil fuels: how can you get thousand-degree heat used in factory furnaces without pumping billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere? Heat-intensive processes like steelmaking and oil refineries are the starting point for... 

Fuel for rockets, Zeppelins points toward green heat solution
The Enel Fusina hydrogen plant near Venice, Italy.

Global pollution is rising again and won’t peak before 2040

By: Bloomberg     13th November 2019 Global greenhouse-gas pollution rose for a second year, ending a lull in emissions and putting the world on track for further increases through 2040 unless governments take radical action. The findings in the International Energy Agency’s annual report on energy paint a grim outlook for efforts... 

Greenpeace finds rare underwater biodiversity haven offshore Cape Town

By: Marleny Arnoldi     13th November 2019 A team of Greenpeace activists, divers and scientists has discovered a “biodiversity haven” on the Vema Seamount, which is 1 000 km off the coast of Cape Town in the southeast Atlantic ocean. The discovery was made onboard the environmental organisation’s research expedition called Arctic... 

Focus on implementing energy efficiency project by 2021

By: Cameron Mackay     8th November 2019 The National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC-SA) is looking to escalate the implementation of energy management in South African industry to allow companies to benefit from the support of the Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) Project before the project ends in 2020/21. The IEE Project is... 

Focus on implementing energy efficiency project by 2021
ENSURING ENERGY EFFICIENCY Companies participating in the IEE Project have achieved energy savings of 4 286 GWh since 2010, and GHG mitigation of 3.9-million tonnes of CO2 equivalent
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