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Environmental Studies News

SA Novavax vaccine trial shows efficacy against B.1.351 Covid-19 variant 

By: Sane Dhlamini     6th May 2021 Results from the University of the Witwatersrand Novavax coronavirus vaccine trial show 51% efficacy against the B.1.351 variant in a South African study with HIV negative participants. A group in the trial, which included people who are HIV positive, showed 43% efficacy. Novavax is a... 

Minerals Council encourages distributed generation for mining industry 

By: Simone Liedtke     5th May 2021 The Minerals Council South Africa is encouraging the uptake of distributed generation (also called self-generation) of power in South Africa, especially considering that South Africa is facing an electricity supply gap. The impact of this is “huge”, Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter told... 

Minerals Council encourages distributed generation for mining industry
Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter

DFFE denies enviro authorisation for a new 30-year ash disposal facility at Kendal

By: Schalk Burger     4th May 2021 The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) has refused an integrated environmental authorisation application by State-owned power utility Eskom to build a new 30-year ash disposal facility at the Kendal power station, in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga, on the basis of insufficient... 

Growing calls for circular economy to be placed at heart of economic recovery

By: Simone Liedtke     30th April 2021 As the world moves from a state of crisis to gradual recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a unique, but narrow, window of opportunity to transform the global economy and accelerate the changes that have long been delayed and are required for genuine transformation. During a keynote... 

Growing calls for circular economy to be placed at heart of economic recovery

Stellenbosch University establishes School for Climate Studies

By: Donna Slater     23rd April 2021 Western Cape-based Stellenbosch University (SU) has established a new School for Climate Studies, which will be officially launched in June, as part of its efforts to tackle the battle against climate change. According to SU research, innovation and postgraduate studies deputy Vice-Chancellor... 

Stellenbosch University establishes School for Climate Studies
Stellenbosch University research, innovation and postgraduate studies deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Eugene Cloete

WHO warns Africa not to let its guard down amid pandemic

By: Sane Dhlamini     22nd April 2021 The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti has encouraged African countries to sustain Covid-19 prevention measures and urged countries not to let their guards down as the world races to vaccinate their populations. Moeti said on Thursday that despite the... 

EWT, Eskom use drones to deploy bird flight diverters

By: Donna Slater     12th April 2021 A drone-operated system that can deploy bird flight diverters, or so-called “flappers”, has been designed and developed in a partnership between the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT’s) wildlife and energy programme and Eskom. The diverters serve as markers that will improve the visibility of... 

Fossil fuels found accountable for millions of deaths

By: Halima Frost     19th March 2021 Fossil fuels are, through a marked contribution to air pollution, accountable for 8.7-million deaths globally in 2018, which adds to the mounting evidence that air pollution from ongoing dependence on fossil fuels is detrimental to global health, says University College London (UCL) associate... 

Fossil fuels found accountable  for millions of deaths
POISON Fossil fuels are responsible for millions of deaths globally every year

Hydrogen supplier fuels public transport

By: Halima Frost     19th March 2021 Renewable-energy and hydrogen supply company Nel Hydrogen has installed a 2 MW proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser system at transport operator SunLine Transit’s premises in California, in the US, to fuel their fleet of fuel cell buses.  

Hydrogen supplier fuels public transport
ENERGY MAKER The Nel Hydrogen proton exchange membrane electrolyser allows for on site hydrogen generation from water

Research shows promise in decarbonisation drive

By: Halima Frost     19th March 2021 The research of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) into accelerated decarbonisation scenarios for the South African power system confirms considerable opportunity to accelerate decarbonisation at low or zero net cost, says CSIR electrochemical energy technologies research... 

Research shows promise in decarbonisation drive
SAVING FOR THE FUTURE Battery storage can become a substantial contributor to maximizing the efficacy of renewable energy

Four strategic water projects ‘ready for investment’

By: Natasha Odendaal     12th March 2021 As infrastructure deployment plays a central role in South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, four water-related projects under the recently gazetted Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) are gearing up for implementation. In July last year, the Department of Public Works and... 

Four strategic water projects ‘ready for investment’

Research shows significant potential for South Africa to develop offshore wind energy resources

By: Schalk Burger     10th March 2021 A study of South Africa's offshore wind energy resources by researchers from the Stellenbosch University Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering indicates that wind turbines installed off the KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape coasts could potentially supply between 15% and 800% of South... 

UCT still top university in Africa, among top 10 emerging economy universities

By: Sane Dhlamini     10th March 2021 The University of Cape Town has upheld its position as top university in Africa and now ranks 10th among universities in countries with emerging economies. UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng has welcomed the ranking by the 2021 Times Higher Education Emerging Economies University... 

UCT still top university in Africa, among top 10 emerging economy universities

Elephants or avocados: a Kenyan dilemma

By: Reuters     3rd March 2021 The majestic sight of elephants roaming beneath Mount Kilimanjaro has long lured throngs of wildlife-lovers to Amboseli National Park on Kenya's border with Tanzania. Yet the free movement of some 2,000 Amboseli elephants, along with two dozen other wildlife species plus cows owned by local... 

Organisations call on Standard Bank, others not to finance East African oil pipeline

By: Schalk Burger     1st March 2021 In an open letter to financial services provider Standard Bank and 24 other banks, 263 community and nonprofit organisations from 49 countries have called on the banks not to fund the construction of the world’s longest heated crude oil pipeline, namely the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (Eacop)... 

Probe finds Mpumalanga, Gauteng hydrogen sulphide levels above WHO recommendations

By: Schalk Burger     1st March 2021 An ongoing probe by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) to determine the cause of the high levels of air pollution reported in Mpumalanga and Gauteng during the week of February 11 to 17 has determined that sulphur dioxide (SO2) levels were in compliance with ambient... 

Company adopts ‘three Rs’ approach to reduce environmental impact

By: Mamaili Mamaila     26th February 2021 Wear-resistant chromium carbide-clad liner plates manufacturer Rio-Carb has aligned itself with the ISO14001 environmental management system to benchmark its manufacturing processes by following the reduce, reuse and recycle approach. 

Company adopts ‘three Rs’ approach to reduce environmental impact
JABULILE MLAMBO Rio-Carb’s approach offered an environment-positive option to the mining, steel and cement industries

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
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