How is the City of Johannesburg doing in terms of protecting the environment?
The city monitors the diversion of waste to landfills, to provide sustainable waste management services to residents. Over the last five years, the city has diverted 20% of waste away from landfill sites overall.
Separation at source is being rolled out in Waterval, Zondi, Diepsloot, Orange Farm, Central Camp, Marlboro and Southdale, targeting a total of 470 000 households.
The city’s garden sites are also being upgraded to accept recyclables.
The city is in partnership with the department of mineral resources and several mining companies, jointly working to minimise dust pollution emanating from mine dumps in our communities.
Over the last five years, there has been an improvement in sulphur dioxide levels reported from all the city’s stations, which means the various interventions are yielding positive results. However, the city is still challenged by high levels of particulate matter (dust, pollen, soot, smoke and liquid droplets).
In a recent reduction measurement exercise, an upward trend was revealed in the emissions from the transport sector. It is thus imperative that the city continues with rolling out efficient public transportation.
It has started a process to institutionalise its response to climate change by developing sector awareness and commitment. To this extent, sector targets have been developed for 2016/17 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
More than 100 000 electricity smart meters were successfully installed over the last five years. The meter rollout program assisted the City of Johannesburg during the process of load shedding to remotely limit and reduce customer usage of electricity. As a result of this intervention, the city did not implement stage one load shedding to its electricity customers.
Well over 30 000 solar water heaters have been installed in various areas including Alexandra, Develand, Lehae, Pimville, Pennyville, Tshepisong and Vlakfontein, as part of a comprehensive programme to move towards energy-efficient power sources. A programme is underway to retrofit all council-owned buildings with energy-efficient lighting. The business sector and private developers are encouraged to follow the city’s example.
The City has launched a programme to power its MetroBus fleet with dual fuel — a combination of natural gas and diesel. Dual fuel buses produce 90% less carbon emissions than conventional buses.
All waste-related activities are registered, and licences are issued to companies and individuals who meet the prescribed conditions, to lessen the threat to human health and the environment.
Urban water management
Eighteen water management units have been established to monitor water quality, assess the health of rivers, combat the impacts of pollution and rehabilitate watercourses. The successful rehabilitation of Bruma Lake is an example of what can be achieved.
The City monitors the performance of wastewater treatment works to ensure the discharges have minimal negative impact on the ecological status of watercourses.
Drinking water quality
Johannesburg continues to provide the best quality drinking water to its residents in all the large metros. Compliance with drinking water standards has improved from 99% to 99.8%.
Johannesburg is characterised by very high levels of transformation and urbanisation, with only 32% of land remaining in a natural state. The City has developed a Bioregional Plan to identify priority areas for formal protection, to monitor and maintain the “free services” that nature provides.