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Environmental Studies News

New spillway increases dam capacity

3rd July 2020 The installation of a newly developed spillway on the Garden Route dam in George, Western Cape, has successfully increased the potential capacity of the dam to 12.5-million cubic metres, says consulting engineering company Aurecon dam engineer Frank Denys. The company was tasked to raise the... 

Company adapts to new norm, despite economic concerns

By: Cameron Mackay     26th June 2020 Despite stoppages in current projects, and a downturn in the economy that has restricted the pipeline of incoming projects, consulting engineering company SRK Consulting MD Vis Reddy says the company and its project teams have adapted well to working remotely. Cloud-based data storage systems,... 

Company adapts to new norm, despite economic concerns
POST-LOCKDOWN PROSPECTS With local air travel reopened for business purposes, essential site visits will be possible, and more practical

Local company involved in Malawi railway link

26th June 2020 This year, environmental consulting engineers JG Afrika completed hydrological, topographical, sedimentation and climate studies to assist the Malawian government in rebuilding railway infrastructure. This was done in an area of the country that is prone to devastating floods.  

Local company involved  in Malawi railway link
FLOOD TOIL TEARS AND SWEAT Floods caused significant erosion and wash away damage on several sections of the railway line that are in close proximity to the river

Covid-19 has exposed weaknesses in our communities – Dlamini-Zuma

By: Sane Dhlamini     23rd June 2020 Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Tuesday declared that the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has exposed the weaknesses and deep fault lines in basic services, infrastructure, poverty and hunger, as well as in economic activities in rural... 

Covid-19 has exposed weaknesses in our communities – Dlamini-Zuma
Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Sasol-sponsored study marks start of waste elimination in two critical KZN rivers

By: Marleny Arnoldi     9th June 2020 Petrochemicals giant Sasol on June 9 released a baseline assessment report after it commissioned a study to understand the challenges around waste pollution in the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, specifically in the Amanzimtoti and Umbogintwini rivers. These rivers flow directly into the Indian... 

Swiss institute advances technology to trace pearl origins

By: Marleny Arnoldi     2nd June 2020 The Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF) has introduced a new service to support the documentation of the origin and provenance of pearls, assisting the pearl trade in documenting origins and improving the traceability of pearls. The service is supported by the SSEF’s deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)... 

Ukwazi launches sustainable mining, environmental and mine closure management division

By: Schalk Burger     1st June 2020 Mining service specialist company Ukwazi on June 1 launched a new division to provide solutions for environmental and closure liability management, including post-closure plans. New approaches in environmental and social governance are required to successfully manage complex country, market and... 

Integration vital for construction-project life cycle

By: Mamaili Mamaila     22nd May 2020 There is a need for integration between the engineering design and environmental processes, before the final submission stage of a project, to avoid the possibility of environmental authorisation for construction on the preferred site being denied, says environmental consultancy Environmental... 

Integration vital for construction-project life cycle
SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS Identifying the environmentally sensitive areas on-site early during the design phase can increase the probability of a sustainable and integrated development

Covid-19 could exacerbate food insecurity, malnutrition in Africa – WHO

By: Sane Dhlamini     15th May 2020 The World Health Organization has expressed concern at the potential impact of the coronavirus on food security, which it says could worsen malnutrition in Africa. WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti has warned that the virus is threatening livelihoods and household economies... 

Covid-19 could exacerbate food insecurity, malnutrition in Africa – WHO

GreenCape highlights green economy growth opportunities

By: Simone Liedtke     14th May 2020 In response to changing market demand, energy services providers are broadening their market offerings, opening up opportunities for equipment suppliers, project developers, technical advisers and investors, reports nonprofit organisation GreenCape. The organisation has published online versions... 

Mistra celebrates 10 years

By: Sane Dhlamini     11th May 2020 The Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra) has hit ten years of independence and transdisciplinary research. Since May 2010, after much consultation, Mistra was founded by a group of researchers, academics, policymakers and former policy practitioners which created a platform to... 

Mistra celebrates 10 years
Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection executive director, Joel Netshitenzhe

Environmental studies, discourse vital to decommissioning

By: Cameron Mackay     8th May 2020 With the decommissioning of South Africa’s two nuclear facilities officially planned for this decade, consulting engineers WSP hydrology senior associate Karen King states that, with all the environmental impact assessments (EIAs) to be conducted, interested and affected party (IAP) engagement... 

Environmental studies, discourse vital to decommissioning
KAREN KING As with all EIAs undertaken locally, interested and affected party engagement will be essential. WSP is well-placed to undertake all of these studies

New infrastructure creates opportunities for demolition, decontamination

By: Cameron Mackay     8th May 2020 The development of new infrastructure, particularly in the expanding local mining sector, has created opportunities for demolition solutions provider Jet Demolition to be involved in sectional demolition and decontamination projects, particularly those involving radiological decontamination.... 

New infrastructure creates opportunities for demolition, decontamination
ION-OPENING EXPERIENCING Radiological decontamination and demolition projects can involve a range of procedures, including radiological scanning and testing of scrap metal after ultra-high pressure washing

Researchers report decrease in South African air pollution during lockdown

By: Rebecca Campbell     7th May 2020 Concentrations of air pollutants over South Africa had decreased during the national lockdown (imposed to try and counter the Covid-19 pandemic), preliminary analysis of satellite data indicated. The study was focused on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2). The research was being... 

Incentives needed to aid local energy tech

By: Mamaili Mamaila     1st May 2020 While there is an increased focus on local content across several South African industries, government could do more in terms of incentivising local manufacturing, says energy solutions company i-G3n co-founder and director Sydney Phakathi. 

Incentives needed  to aid local energy tech
NO FUSS WHATSOEVER i-G3n offers standard solutions that it can also tailor to suit the specific needs of every client

Solidarity Fund raises R2.6bn  

By: Sane Dhlamini     23rd April 2020 Government’s pro bono organisation, the Solidarity Fund on Thursday expressed gratitude to all those who have so far donated to the fund, which has received R2.6-billion in pledges to respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The mandate of fund is to mobilise and coordinate financial and... 

Solidarity Fund raises R2.6bn

Covid-19 cases surpass 10 000 in Africa

By: Sane Dhlamini     8th April 2020 The World Health Organisation has reported that the number of confirmed coronavirus has surpassed the 10 000 mark in Africa, with over 500 deaths. In a statement WHO raised concerns that while the virus was slow to reach the continent, the infection has grown exponentially in recent weeks and... 

Covid-19 cases surpass 10 000 in Africa

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... 

Black rhino population doubles owing to concerted conservation

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
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