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Environmental Studies News

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

CFBC boiler technology viable for S Africa

By: Mamaili Mamaila     21st August 2020 The global success of circulating fluidised bed combustion (CFBC) boiler technology, suggests that this should be the technology of choice for the future in State-owned power utility Eskom’s power stations. 

CFBC boiler technology viable for S Africa
SMOKE STACKS The emissions of concern in coal-fired technology are carbon dioxide, sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide and particulates (usually fly ash of various sizes)

Scientists harvest more eggs from near-extinct northern white rhino

By: Reuters     19th August 2020 Scientists racing to save the northern white rhino from extinction have harvested 10 more eggs from the last two females alive which they hope will help create viable embryos that can be incubated by other rhinos acting as surrogates. Neither of the remaining northern white rhinos on Earth - a... 

Air Envirotech launched to assist mining industry in creating ‘cleaner air’

By: Simone Liedtke     3rd August 2020 Air pollution, dust control and pneumatic product handling specialists Air Envirotech has started operating, providing a comprehensive range of air environmental and pneumatic conveying services, systems and technologies. The company mainly focuses on the mining, metallurgical processing and... 

Researchers build AI tool capable of identifying individual birds

By: Schalk Burger     27th July 2020 New research demonstrates for the first time that artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to train computers to recognise individual birds; a task humans are unable to do. Researchers from the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, based at the University of Cape Town (UCT); the French... 

Green Connection welcomes extended period to comment on Total scoping report

By: Marleny Arnoldi     22nd July 2020 Environmental consultancy SLR Consulting, on behalf of Total Exploration & Production South Africa, has granted respondents 30 additional days to comment on the company’s draft scoping report for further oil exploration and drilling in blocks 11B and 12B, along the Southern Cape coast. The... 

Fight against plastic waste being won on South Coast

17th July 2020 The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Marine Waste Network South Coast took place earlier this year at the Amanzimtoti Lagoon, in which Plastics SA played a key role. 

New piezometer boosts existing safety standards 

By: Halima Frost     10th July 2020 The installation of South Africa’s first Slimline vibrating wire piezometer, which is distributed by geotechnical service provider GeoGroup, is set to take place when the current Covid-19 lockdown regulations allow. The company says the piezometer will be instrumental in ensuring accurate... 

New piezometer boosts existing safety standards
GeoGroup director Grant Rijsmus discusses the company’s Slimline Vibrating Wire Piezometer. Camerawork: Kutlwano Matala. Editing: Nicholas Boyd. Recorded: 10.06.2020

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... 

New spillway increases  dam capacity
LONG WAY The newly developed elongated spillway, aptly named the duckbill allows for 25% more capacity on the Garden Route Dam

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
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