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Old September 21st, 2011, 05:07 PM   #1
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Smile Johannesburg green news

Seeing that Joburg doesn't seem to have a green thread, and that there are a few green initiatives underway in the city, I thought it was high time Jhb had a green thread too. Jobugers, you probably know more about the city's initiatives than non-residents, so please feel free to enlighten us...
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Old September 21st, 2011, 05:08 PM   #2
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Wednesday Sep 21, 2011

Joburg to tackle green issues posing risks

Weather-related deaths, severe flood risks, increased energy demands, climate-driven refugees and risk to electricity and telecommunications are just some of the problems facing the City of Joburg.

This is the theme of the City of Joburg's Growth and Development Strategy 2040 environmental week being held at the Botanical Gardens in Emmarentia this week.

Member of the mayoral committee responsible for the environment Ros Greeff said that as the city's population increased, so did the demand for water, energy and food resources.

"These pressures are exacerbated by natural disasters, extreme poverty and resource deprivation, as well as humaninduced climate change. These trends, as evidenced by the sobering daily newspaper reports about looming environmental disasters, escalating food and oil prices and human tragedy, all place new demands on the way we manage the environment," she said.

While the constitution spelt out environmental rights in terms of the health and the well-being of society, it also covered the need for the protection and management of the environment.

The current trends in environmental sustainability put enormous pressure on cities that served as incubators for economic and human development, Greeff said.

"The aim of the environmental week is to build continuity amid uncertainty, while fine-tuning the relationship between the built environment, human well-being and the ability of the ecosystem to provide vital services to all. Natural resource scarcity is a critical factor affecting both human and economic development."

She said cities could not sustain human and economic development without securing natural resources. Cities needed to seek new ways of overcoming critical natural resource constraints and reframing economic and human development within the context of sustainability.

Some of the difficulties in managing the city ecosystem's goods and services included:

A significant increase in land-use changes as a result of urban expansion. Parks and open spaces seem to be under constant threat by development pressures.

The impacts of climate change are already changing habitats and the distribution of species. Scientists warn that even a one-degree increase in the average global temperature, if it comes rapidly, will push many species over the brink.

It is often the communities living in poverty and other vulnerable groups that are likely to experience the significant impacts of climate change.

Joburg's aquatic ecosystems are highly degraded due to bacteriological, chemical and heavy metal pollutants, which results in the loss of plants, fish, frogs and invertebrates. A large part of the ground water reserves has also become contaminated with highly acidic water, polluted with heavy metals and other pollutants due to mining activity.

This is just to mention a few of the environmental challenges faced by the city.

"The week will be spent understanding environmental sustainability, focusing on climate change and discussions on biodiversity, and how the city can bridge the green divide between our communities and how to involve the youth."

Executive director for the environment Flora Mokgohloa said there was international pressure to reduce our carbon footprint, particularly in Joburg, which is considered a leading producer of greenhouse gases.

Other issues due to be discussed are how and where building and development occurs; how cities can affect energy use; travel behaviour; air quality; waste generation and resource use; and the natural resource management function of local government.

The Star

Posted at 08:22AM Sep 21, 2011 by Editor in Cities and Towns

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Old September 30th, 2011, 01:31 PM   #3
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Friday Sep 30, 2011

Joburg chooses solar power

If the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) has its way, most of the traffic lights in Joburg will operate on solar power sooner rather than later.

At a meeting on 28 September, the agency revealed its intention to have 14 pilot sites operating on solar power in the near future. Given this strategy, various private service providers made presentations on remote monitoring systems for traffic lights and uninterrupted power systems.

The seminar formed part of the 90-day mayoral Accelerated Service Delivery Plan, which was launched by Executive Mayor Parks Tau earlier this year, and which is drawing to a close. The campaign looks at ways to speed up service delivery, co-opting all municipal-owned entities and City departments to get on board.

To play its part, JRA has been filling potholes, resurfacing roads, repainting road markings, weeding pavements, fixing traffic lights and unblocking drains.

Within 30 days of the launch, eight intersections out of the targeted 40 were already fitted with remote monitoring systems. Some 34 intersections out of the targeted 116 had been fitted with uninterrupted power supply (UPS) devices, and a total of 134 junctions now use LED (light emitting diode) lamps in their traffic lights.

LED lamps are more visible and use less energy, are more environmentally friendly and last longer than conventional lamps.

The JRA is also partnering with the Joburg metro police department (JMPD) to respond quickly to problems. Seven metro police motorbikes and officers have been made available to help roads technicians to get to affected areas as fast as possible.

"When we go on to the site of the reported problem, metro police escorts us so that we get there quickly. And while we work on the problem, they are busy controlling traffic," said the road agency's communications officer, Mosa Makhalima.

The JRA is tasked with planning, design, construction, operation, control, rehabilitation and maintenance of the roads and storm water infrastructure in the city. Its responsibilities include the construction and maintenance of bridges, traffic lights, footways, road signage and road markings.


Posted at 08:35AM Sep 30, 2011 by Editor in Cities and Towns

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Old October 20th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by romanSA View Post
Friday Sep 30, 2011

The JRA is also partnering with the Joburg metro police department (JMPD) to respond quickly to problems. Seven metro police motorbikes and officers have been made available to help roads technicians to get to affected areas as fast as possible.

"When we go on to the site of the reported problem, metro police escorts us so that we get there quickly. And while we work on the problem, they are busy controlling traffic," said the road agency's communications officer, Mosa Makhalima.
You ARE talking about Johannesburg here right? The one in Gauteng in South Africa? Not one of the ones in the States.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 07:05 AM   #5
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Jozi’s green spaces impressive

Johannesburg - Johannesburg has a reputation for being the world’s biggest manmade forest, boasting more than 10 million trees.

But with mine-dump dust whirling around on a windy day, the constant threat of acid mine drainage and the bleak landscapes for which the City of Gold has become famous, at first glance Jozi is not an ideal contender for South Africa’s greenest city.

And then there are the traffic jams.

Yet a new study on the greenest cities in Africa found that Johannesburg had much to offer. The city leads the pack in cutting down on electricity and planting trees, although its citizens still use an excessive amount of water and few bother to recycle.

Siemens commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to compile the African Green City Index to help understand urban sustainability.

The study compared 15 cities in Africa on environmental performance and policies across categories such as energy, carbon footprint, land use, transport, waste, water, sanitation, air quality and environmental governance.

The cities examined were Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban, Casablanca (Morocco), Tunis (Tunisia), Alexandria and Cairo (Egypt), Accra (Ghana), Lagos (Nigeria), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Nairobi (Kenya) and Maputo (Mozambique).

Though the results of all 15 cities are only due to be released during the climate change summit in Durban at the beginning of next month, Dr Paul Kielstra, contributing editor of the EIU, gave City Press a preview of how well Johannesburg scores.

Commute terrible

“The City of Johannesburg is one of the greenest cities in the index and ranks above average overall,” he said. “Its environmental performance is bolstered by having the second highest amount of green space among the 15 index cities and an extensive bus network, as well as generally robust environmental policies, especially for clean energy and congestion reduction.”

Parks Tau, mayor of Johannesburg, said the city would build a green economy into its growth plan. “We have launched the biggest project on converting landfill gas to energy,” he said.

But the study revealed that the city’s transport battle hampered its green rating. Johannesburg’s traffic and daily commutes have been rated as some of the worst in the world. And there is little alternative public transport.

The Rea Vaya transport system was described as a beacon of light in tackling greenhouse gases and Tau said the city was in the process of transforming its transport sector to improve air quality in the city.

The study described Johannesburg’s green spaces as impressive. The city has more than 2 000 developed parks and each person has about 230m² of green space, compared with the average 74m² per person in African cities.

Last year, before the soccer World Cup, the city “greened” Soweto by planting 200 000 trees.

A dark patch remains Jozi’s reliance on coal. Just about 90% of the city’s energy is generated by coal. Yet the city has become quite energy efficient and has the lowest electricity consumption among South African cities – 5.6 gigajoule per person as opposed to the average of 6.4 gigajoule.

Johannesburg citizens also love water. The city had the second highest water consumption of all African cities, using 349 litres of water per person per day. The average is 187 litres.

The city was also criticised for its poor recycling record
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Old November 21st, 2011, 08:16 AM   #6
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almost 350 l per person? - thats pretty hectic - and unsustainable in my opinion. I havent been back in SA very long in the last 6 years, but are we rolling out ( excuse the pun ) Dual flush toilets yet? that would at least save 10 l per person a day - if not more. In Australian cities like Melbourne, there is an innitiative called the 180. ( 180 l per person )
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 03:51 PM   #7
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we have them in our house in Cape town so sure they are all over
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 04:23 PM   #8
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Dual flush toilets are all over, but they're not required by law in new build houses I don't think...

When I redo my bathrooms, they will be getting Dual Flush toilets, I will get those water saving shower heads.. etc etc....
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Old April 11th, 2012, 08:41 AM   #9
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No based on Joburg but would make for an interesting extrapolation...

The High Cost of Losing Urban Trees

Every tree in urban Tennessee provides an estimated $2.25 worth of measurable economic benefits every year. Might not seem like a lot, but with 284 million urban trees in the state, the payoff's pretty big.

Through energy savings, air and water filtering and carbon storage, the urban trees of Tennessee account for more than $638 million in benefits, according to a report [PDF] conducted by the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and released earlier this year.

The biggest savings are attributed to carbon storage, which the authors of the report value at an estimated $350 million. Collectively, the state's urban trees store about 16.9 million tons, with each ton stored worth about $20.70 to the state every year. Air and water filtration is also one of the functional benefits of urban trees, and the report estimates the value of this work at $204 million per year. The trees are credited with removing 27,100 tons of pollutants each year, including ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide. And because of the shading they provide, these urban trees are credited with saving about $66 million in energy costs annually.

And these valuations don't even consider the aesthetic value of having streets and parks lined with red maples and yellow poplars. Those benefits are a little more difficult to quantify, which is why this study, a pilot, focused on the more measurable benefits urban trees can provide. The method used for estimating tree values is commonly used and was developed by the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers.

Similar pilot studies have been or are being conducted in Indiana, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Colorado. Indiana's street trees, for example, have been found [PDF] to provide about $38 million in tangible benefits every year, including stormwater treatment, energy use reduction, air quality improvement and carbon sequestration. They were also estimated to provide about $41 million in aesthetic values and impacts on property values. (That study counted about 52 million trees in the state, but it's unclear how many are "urban.")

The authors behind the Tennessee report also note that the state's trees are under threat from a variety of invasive species and diseases. They argue that more work needs to be done to prevent these threats from reducing the urban tree canopy and the benefits it provides. If every urban tree in the state were to die, the cost of replacing them is estimated at $79.5 billion. While that's an unlikely event, the high cost underlines the economic value that trees provide, whether in functional and utilitarian ways or in those less tangible.

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