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Awarding innovative projects that drive SA’s green economy

The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality’s beneficiation of bio-solids project has won GreenCape’s inaugural Green Economy Change Champions Competition. The project adds value to bio-solids produced at wastewater treatment facilities.

The competition celebrated inspiring examples of green economy innovation at municipal level across South Africa. It was hosted by GreenCape in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) and is designed to highlight municipalities that apply innovative and sustainable green technologies that improve service delivery.

Cecilia Kok, FNF head of research and advocacy projects in South Africa said the aim of the competition is to share more widely what is being done to drive innovation in the country’s green economy to tackle some of the most pressing service delivery issues. “We believe this is an opportunity for municipalities to learn from one another and replicate successful projects,” said Kok.

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Dorah Marema, SALGA portfolio head for municipal sustainability, explained that municipalities have the mandate to promote a safe and healthy environment in terms of South Africa’s Constitution. Local government is thus at the centre of the challenge presented by development needs and climate change. SALGA has a vision to create climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable municipalities through the local government support strategy.

“We’re delighted that through this competition municipalities are able to celebrate and share learnings from novel green economy solutions that have been tested and implemented successfully,” said Marema.

Growing the green economy is a shared responsibility

Five municipalities were shortlisted as finalists. Alongside the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality’s bio-solids enrichment project were:

  • Overstrand Municipality’s Preekstoel Bio-Filtration Water Treatment Plant
  • Rand Water’s use of satellite techology for leak detection
  • Cape Agulhas Municipality’s retrofit of streetlights with LED technology
  • City of Cape Town’s GreenUp Project

The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality won a professionally produced video that will showcase the project and its success and give them the opportunity to inspire other municipalities in South Africa.

Kerneels Esterhuyse, acting director (Wastewater Treatment) for the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality explained conventional sewage sludge disposal options are no longer appropriate in their region. It leads to sacrificial land disposal, a constant influx to the landfill, uncontrolled spreading on farmlands and groundwater contamination.

“The City realised that composting of sludge produces a low-value product and is not sustainable in the long term.

“Furthermore, mechanical solutions like incineration and pyrolysis is capital intensive and costly. Therefore, a full-scale pilot project for the beneficiation of biosolids was implemented and is proving to be successful. Our current service provider, Agriman, was competitively awarded a tender in 2010 for a 15-year period. Our efforts are resulting in a real contribution to the development of the green economy,” said Esterhuyse.

He pointed out that implementation of sustainable green economy projects in local government can be fast-tracked by sharing initiatives, implementation challenges and success with each other. Esterhuyse was impressed by the competing projects and looks forward to implementing them in the City of Tshwane.

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Theresa Smith
Theresa Smith is a content producer for Clarion Events Africa.