Durban recognised for landfill conservancies project

DURBAN can boast another feather in its cap after winning an Honorary Climate and Clean Air Award, recently.

The award was conferred on Durban for its Durban Landfill Conservancies project by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition in Bonn on 12 November.

Also read: DEA suspends operations at Shongweni Landfill site

The project is a successful landfill that reduces emissions of methane, provides safe waste disposal, employs workers from surrounding communities, and produces electricity for the local grid.

Its landfill gas project was the first in Africa and is still one of the most successful in the world.

The project has also provided assistance to several other countries and cities within and outside Africa, proving the learning role that Durban is playing in the global arena.

Also read: Springfield landfill site undergoes rehabilitation

Mayor Zandile Gumede said this is indeed a proud moment for Durban and eThekwini Municipality.

“By making changes to the way we operate and by reducing our carbon foot print, we are leading by example and building a new resilient city. By employing and empowering nearby communities the city is not only creating employment but developing an army of green warriors that will spread the message at grass roots level. Well done to the team.”

The Climate and Clean Air Awards recognise exceptional contributions and actions to implement projects, programmes, policies and practices that reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), such as black carbon, methane, hydrofluorocarbons and tropospheric ozone.

The Durban Landfill Conservancies project shows the potential that well managed waste systems have for reducing short-lived climate pollutants.

Also read: Enviro alliance investigates Shongweni landfill

Methane emissions from municipal solid waste are responsible for 11 percent of all manmade methane emissions. According the International Energy Agency, landfill gas is typically 60 percent methane and 40 percent carbon dioxide (CO2). Methane is at least 23, and up to 32, times more powerful that CO2 at atmospheric warming.

In Durban methane is extracted from the landfill and used to run generators that produce electricity for the local grid reducing its impact on the climate and providing a cleaner energy source. To date Durban’s landfills have avoided approximately 2.5 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions.

The improved landfills have also prevented liquid runoff from polluting groundwater, reduced odour, and prevented the breeding of disease carrying animals like flies and rats.

Green areas filled with indigenous plants create buffer zones surrounding the landfill and some 700,000 trees have been planted.

The Durban Landfill Conservancies project has assisted Botswana, Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya, Mauritius, Iran and Malaysia with landfill operations and landfill gas projects.

Durban has contributed to the education and understanding of short term climate pollutant mitigation through its association with C40 Cities, 100 Sustainable Cities, and Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

 

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  AUTHOR
Highway Mail reporter

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