The Green Key Award: Green Key, in partnership with WESSA, was launched in South Africa in 2015. The Green Key Award is a leading standard of excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry. Read more: http://www.greenkey.global/
Tomato pest: South Africa’s annual tomato harvest of about 600 000 tons is now being threatened by a destructive pest in tomato harvests worldwide. Tuta absoluta is a highly destructive insect that attacks the leaves and stems of tomato and potato plants. According to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, this pest has now also reached South Africa, after having spread from South America and then to Europe. Moreover, within one planting season, this pest has become resistant to most chemicals used to get rid of it. (Netwerk24 and Reuters, 6 November 2016).
Biodiversity: South Africa is one of the most bilogically diverse countries in the world, only slightly less diverse than Indonesia and Brazil. According to the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), we are not only surrounded by two oceans, but the country covers about 2% of the world’s land mass and is home to about 10% of the world’s flora, 7% of the reptile, bird and animal species and 15% of all coastal and marine life (Rapport Beleef, 9 October 2016).
National Environmental Managament: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) (Act no 10 of 2004): Updated Alien and Invasive Species Lists were published in Government Gazette (no 40166 of 29 July 2016). Draft distribution maps for certain indigenous species were also published in Government Gazette (no 40398). The distribution maps are applicable to the implementation of the Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations of 2007 and the Alien and Invasive Species (AIS) Regulations of 2014. The Gazettes are available free online at www.gpwonline.co.za.
Solar-powered SA airport flying: Built in 1977, George Airport is now a transit hub for shipments of flowers and oysters, as well as golfers visiting one of the region’s many golf courses. About 700 000 passengers pass through its doors each year. This small site is South Africa’s first “green” airport powered by the sun. The solar plant, launched in September 2015, is only the second solar-run airport in the world after Cochin in India. The control towers, escalators, check-in desks, baggage carousels, restaurants and ATMs all depend on a small power station a few hundred metres away in a field of dandelions next to a runway. Its 2 000 solar panels produce up to 750kW every day, easily surpassing the 400kW needed to run the airport.The excess is fed into the municipal power grid, which supplies 274 households with green electiricity. The environmental value of the project is already evident, as the hub has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 1 229 tons. According to airport manager, Brenda Vorster, the electricity bill has been cut by 40% in the space of only one year. (The Citizen, 11 October 2016).
Municipality ordered to deal with electricity thieves: Electricity thieves may have met their Waterloo countrywide. In an article in the Eastern Cape daily, the Daily Dispatch (10 November 2016), it was reported that the Buffalo City Metro had been ordered to act against Nkandla informal settlement dwellers, who had been stealing electricity from a private farm for the past two years. This was ordered by the Eastern Cape High Court (East London) in a victory for the farm owner, who had been battling to get the Metro to protect him from the electricity thieves. He claimed that the illegal connections had caused frequent power cuts on his farm and had posed a danger to people and animals, as the fencing was always live, due to exposed wires coming into contact with it. The judge ordered the municipality to do all in its power to stop the settlement dwellers from stealing electricity and to ensure that all exposed wires on the farm were removed. The municipality was also ordered to remove electricity poles and install a new electricity line that would be located inside the farm, far away from the reach of the squatter camp. The Metro also had to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the farm.