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Environmental Studies News

DFFE deploys environmental inspectors to investigate KZN mine slurry river pollution

By: Schalk Burger     14th January 2022 The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) has deployed a team of environmental management inspectors to assist in an investigation into a slurry dam burst in KwaZulu-Natal on December 24, which resulted in tailings material flowing into nearby rivers and onto nearby land.... 

Vergelegen wine estate tests environment-friendly gum poles

By: Schalk Burger     14th January 2022 Wine producer Vergelegen Wine Estate, in Somerset West, is testing a new concept – environment-friendly eucalyptus poles that have not been chemically treated – in some of its vineyards The untreated poles have been installed in two blocks of vineyards, extending over 3.55 ha. These are planted... 

Vergelegen Wine Estate viticulturist Rudolf Kriel
Vergelegen Wine Estate viticulturist Rudolf Kriel

Toxic fumes ship will be dumping chemicals off St Helena Bay until March - maritime authority

By: News24Wire      13th January 2022 Around 1 500 tonnes of chemicals on the NS Qingdao bulk carrier were being dumped into the sea about 250km off St Helena Bay in an operation expected to end in March, the SA Maritime Authority (Samsa) said on Thursday. In October 2021, the ship was evacuated from the Port of Durban to St Helena... 

Another seismic survey is heading to SA waters, this time from Australia

By: News24Wire      13th January 2022 Just as the Amazon Warrior, a vessel that was to conduct a seismic survey off the Wild Coast on behalf of Shell, left South Africa, attention is now focused on another planned survey, this time off the West Coast. In December, the Makhanda High Court granted an interim interdict to halt Shell’s... 

Indian Ocean

Opinion: Shell prevented from proceeding with seismic survey offshore of South Africa’s Eastern Cape province

10th January 2022 In this opinion piece, law firm Herbert Smith Freehills partner and Africa co-chairperson Peter Leon, senior associate Ernst Muller and associate Mandy Hattingh write about the High Court's decision to grant local communities an urgent interim injunction prohibiting Shell from conducting any... 

Herbert Smith Freehills partner Peter Leon
Photo by Creamer Media
Herbert Smith Freehills partner Peter Leon

'Special apartheid': Mantashe accuses anti-Shell lobby of 'oppressing' development  

By: News24Wire      9th December 2021 Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has condemned "unrelenting attacks" on oil and gas development in South Africa, which appear designed to thwart economic growth and deepen unemployment in the country. "Africa deserves an equal chance to develop its economies on the strength of... 

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe

JSE releases sustainability, climate change disclosure guidelines

By: Simone Liedtke     9th December 2021 Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have become central and are, more than ever, being factored into the development of sustainable and resilient markets and economies, both locally and globally. The JSE acknowledges the challenges faced by listed companies in navigating the... 

Sahpra approves Pfizer booster dose in S Africa to curb Omicron variant

By: Sane Dhlamini     9th December 2021 The South African Health Products Authority (Sahpra) has approved a third booster dose for South Africans following the outbreak of the Omicron Covid-19 variant. This follows concerns at early evidence suggesting that the Omicron has a higher re-infection risk. 

Image of Covid-19 vaccines

Shell faces fresh South African court test over seismic programme

By: Bloomberg     7th December 2021 Royal Dutch Shell faces a fresh legal challenge to its planed seismic survey off South Africa’s eastern coastline with local communities seeking to halt the program. The case, filed last week, comes after a South African High Court on Friday dismissed a request for an interdict from a group... 

Study finds best method for drones to observe elephants with least impact

By: Donna Slater     6th December 2021 Researchers from Stellenbosch University (SU) have been involved in the first ever paper to be published containing practical guidelines and a suggested ethical protocol on how to cause as little disturbance as possible to elephants when flying over them with drones. The paper, in the journal... 

An image of elephants taken with a drone

Shell can proceed with seismic survey after environmental groups lose urgent court bid  

By: News24Wire      3rd December 2021 The high court has dismissed an urgent application to block Shell from proceeding with a seismic survey off the Eastern Cape coast. The ruling was delivered by Judge Avinash Govindjee at the Eastern Cape Division of the Makhanda High Court on Wednesday. Earlier this week, four environmental and... 

Shell logo

Indigenous plant biofilters effectively remove pollutants from stormwater, researchers say

By: Schalk Burger     26th November 2021 Biofilters with indigenous South African plants, such as palmiet, mat sedge, soft rush, cobra lily and vleibiesie, are significantly more efficient than unvegetated soils in removing nutrients and metals pollutants from urban stormwater, Stellenbosch University (SU) researchers say. The team... 

DFFE appointing independent expert to help rule on Karpowership appeal

By: News24Wire      23rd November 2021 The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment says it is appointing an "independent expert" to assist Minister Barbara Creecy in responding to an appeal by floating powership provider Karpowership SA. Karpowership SA, which falls under Turkey's Karadeniz Energy Group, was in March... 

Green Connection speaks out against Wild Coast seismic survey by oil and gas multinational

By: Schalk Burger     22nd November 2021 The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) on November 22 said Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe was responsible for the administration of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) and that Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister... 

COP26 clean power initiative to ‘persevere through multiple obstacles’ for noteworthy change by 2030

By: Simone Liedtke     15th November 2021 The noticeable absence and lack of urgency and support of major coal power generation companies has resulted in a less than auspicious start to COP26’s Global Coal to Clean Power Transition initiative, says data analytics and consulting company GlobalData senior oil and gas analyst Effuah... 

B4SA urges broad participation in Vooma Vaccination Weekend

By: Sane Dhlamini     12th November 2021 As government rolls out the second Vooma Vaccination Weekend this weekend, Business for South Africa is calling on people over the age of 12, and especially those over the age of 50, to take advantage of the weekend vaccination sites ahead of the upcoming holiday season.  B4SA chair Martin... 

Image showing Covid-19 vaccine

Nigerian lecturer awarded Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer research grant

By: Schalk Burger     9th November 2021 The $150 000 Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer (JWO) Research Grant has been awarded to Nigeria Federal University of Technology Akure (Futa) department of chemistry lecturer and researcher Dr Gideon Idowu, whose research helps policymakers and communities gain a better understanding of the effects of... 

Nuclear regulator assures that contamination incident at Koeberg did not involve reactors

By: Rebecca Campbell     8th November 2021 The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) on Monday assured that a reported incidence of airborne contamination at the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant (NNP) did not come from the nuclear reactor. Koeberg, which is owned and operated by State-owned national electricity utility Eskom, has two reactors and... 

The Koeberg power station

Skull of Homo naledi child discovered at Rising Star cave

By: Sane Dhlamini     5th November 2021 The first partial skull of a Homo naledi child, Leti, has been found in a remote passage of the Rising Star cave, in Johannesburg, by a team of international researchers led by University of the Witwatersrand Lee Berger. Two papers have been written about the discovery of parts of the skull and... 

New methods, technology key in driving net zero goal

By: Anna Moross     22nd October 2021 The South African road infrastructure and construction industry can learn from international markets and apply several key lessons on its journey to achieving the goal of net zero, ensuring a balance between emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere, says consulting engineers... 

An image of Marshall Muthen WSP in Africa’s highways, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and rail director
MARSHALL MUTHEN South Africa can futureproof the road network infrastructure and its construction by taking digital roads into consideration to achieve the net zero goals and implement digital technologies

Technologies play powerful role in climate change efforts

By: Anna Moross     22nd October 2021 Technology is a critical accelerator in the efforts to implement climate change actions, and according to South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) energy efficiency and data & knowledge management GM Barry Bredenkamp, there is a major shift in the design of energy-consuming... 

An image of Barry Bredenkamp, the energy efficiency and data & knowledge management GM at Sanedi.
BARRY BREDENKAMP Small- and large-scale renewable-energy technologies solutions are also developing at a rapid rate and digitalisation is inevitable

Cape Town fights alien trees threatening its water supply, biodiversity

By: Reuters     18th October 2021 In South Africa's Franschhoek mountains a helicopter drops off abseilers to cut down invasive pine trees that are choking off water supplies to millions of Cape Town residents already facing climate change-induced shortages. The crews are there to help to remove 54,000 hectares of alien trees by... 

Gas-to-power crucial to South Africa’s energy future 

By: Halima Frost     15th October 2021 Multinational conglomerate General Electric Company (GE) Gas Power strategy & growth director Michael Konadu tells Mining Weekly that although there is no one solution to decrease South Africa’s carbon footprint, gas-to-power will be integral in the mix. He explains that South Africa’s Just... 

A large Gas Power Combined Cycle power plant designed by GE at dusk
TURNING TABLES The gas turbines offered by GE Gas To Power decrease a clients emissions substantially making a dent on its carbon footprint

US to donate further R134m in Covid-19 assistance to S Africa

By: Sane Dhlamini     8th October 2021 US Chargé d’Affaires Todd Haskell announced on Friday the donation of about R134-million (or $9-million) in urgent Covid-19 assistance from the US to South Africa to boost the country’s vaccination drive.  This forms part of additional support from the American Rescue Plan Act and complements the... 

Image of the US flag

UPL asked to pay for public forum on South Africa pollution

By: Bloomberg     6th October 2021 UPL, an Indian producer of chemicals used in agriculture, will be asked to pay for the establishment of a forum that will keep the public informed about developments relating to a spill of hazardous chemicals in the South African city of Durban. The so-called multi stakeholder forum will be set... 

Eskom is now world’s biggest sulphur dioxide emitter, CREA says 

By: Bloomberg     5th October 2021 Eskom Holdings, South Africa’s coal-reliant power utility, has become the world’s biggest emitter of sulphur dioxide, a pollutant linked to ailments ranging from asthma to heart attacks, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said. Eskom produced 1 600 kilotons of the pollutant in... 

Eskom Coal Fired Power station

Durban chemical company had no environmental authorisation to operate plant, report finds 

By: News24Wire      4th October 2021 United Phosphorus Limited (UPL) had no environmental authorisation to operate its Cornubia chemical factory, nor did it obtain risk assessment and planning permissions as required by environmental and municipal by-laws, a preliminary report has found. Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister... 

Atlas project to be finalised

By: Cameron Mackay     1st October 2021 Local wind energy collaboration the South African Wind Energy Programme (SAWEP) is in the final stages of completing the Wind Atlas for South Africa (WASA) Phase 3 project this year, says SAWEP project manager Andre Otto. SAWEP is a multiyear technical assistance project, funded by the Global... 

Carbon tax ineffective against major emitters

By: Darren Parker     1st October 2021 South Africa’s “laughably weak and ineffective” carbon tax regime is no disincentive to carbon-intensive businesses, such as integrated chemicals and energy company Sasol, environmental activist organisation Greenpeace Africa climate and energy campaigner Thandile Chinyavanhu tells Engineering... 

A photo of a Sasol plant emitting pollution into the air while crops and flowers grow in the foreground
Photo by Reuters
PINING FOR CHANGE Greenpeace Africa ponders whether a just transition is possible while major emitters continue to be granted large-scale carbon tax allowances

Association releases new training manual

By: Halima Frost     17th September 2021 Last month, South African Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (Saracca) released its updated training manual, which will be implemented, from this month onwards, by heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) training providers throughout South Africa.... 

Metal pipes of a correctly installed pipe system for the HVACR system
HOW TO... The association has released a new installation manual which will be used by training providers form this month

Refrigeration system to cut energy costs available

By: Halima Frost     17th September 2021 With South African retailers looking for ways of recovering from the latest lockdown, as well as the looting and vandalism, an opportunity to decrease costs on the system that comprises the bulk of their energy spend, which is refrigeration, has arisen. “All food retailers rely on refrigeration... 

A large solar installation on a clients roof installed by EP Refrigeration, which is grid-tied and decreases the clients reliance on grid power
LIGHT WORK Adding a solar installation to a company's refrigeration unit deceases the cost of running the unit off grid power alone

Global citrus demand increases refrigeration demand

By: Halima Frost     17th September 2021 A global increase in demand for South African-grown citrus, as well as more export regulations, has resulted in a substantial increase in demand for refrigeration capacity, says local refrigeration manufacturer EP Refrigeration business development head Dawie Kriel. “We not only need to add... 

A roof top refrigeration system installed by EP Refrigeration at a produce packing house
FRUITFUL SERVICES An increased need for refrigerated storage and transport capacity in the citrus sector is being addressed by EP Refrigeration

Solar-powered 4x4s are totally transforming safaris

By: Bloomberg     14th September 2021 For Sipps Maswanganyi, a safari guide with 20 years of experience in the African bush, it was one memorable sighting that sold him on electric safari vehicles. “I could hear this buffalo panting heavily deep in the bushes,” recalls Maswanganyi, head guide at Cheetah Plains, a luxury outfit in... 

Biodiversity can serve as nucleus for enabling sustainable development at peace with nature

By: Schalk Burger     24th August 2021 A focus on biodiversity can serve as the nucleus to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as biodiversity looks at people, prosperity and a healthy planet through effective partnerships, says United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) South Africa resident... 

Australian miners accelerate green investment amid net-zero flurry

By: Esmarie Iannucci     13th August 2021 With the rise of environmental activism and greater investor interest in environmental and social governance, Australian miners and the Australian government have started to give greater priority to emission reduction schemes and environmental investments. The federal government in 2020... 

Image of Engineering News and Mining Weekly cover

eThekwini, DFFE helping UPL with Cornubia chemical clean-up efforts

By: Schalk Burger     26th July 2021 The eThekwini municipality, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) and specialists from the municipality, the department and the private sector are advising and helping chemical company UPL to clean up the spill that happened in Cornubia, Durban, following the recent... 

Report suggests 10% reuse of plastics will halve such ocean-going litter

By: Donna Slater     22nd July 2021 A key finding of the ‘Future of Reusable Consumption Model’ report suggests that it is possible to prevent almost half of yearly plastic ocean waste by reusing just 10% of all plastics consumed, as an integral part of the reduce-reuse-recycle agenda. The report – a collaboration between... 

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