Environment Sustainability

Cape Town has a plan to manage its water. But there are big gaps

What lessons were learnt from Cape Town’s “Day Zero”? Shutterstock

The City of Cape Town – and southwest Africa more generally – experienced its worst drought on record between 2015 and 2018. With fresh rains as well as careful water management, the city has now emerged from this environmental and economic emergency.

South Africa needs to refresh how it manages by-products from mining

A gold tailings dam under construction in South Africa. Author supplied

To extract minerals from host rocks, mines grind down rock into fine sand. Once the mineral is extracted, most of this fine sand remains as a by-product called tailings. Every mining operation produces a unique tailings stream and local conditions dictate storage options.

How global warming is adding to the health risks of poor people

People living in run-down, inner city apartments, like these in Cairo, are at risk of heat-stress health problems. Shutterstock

There is mounting evidence of the impact of climate change on human habitat and health, on plant and animal life, on water resources and shorelines. These changes are felt unevenly within – and between – nations and communities. This is due to differences in access to resources, infrastructure, social structure, and government policy. Climate change is, and will continue to be, most severely felt by the poorest people in any population, particularly those living in poorly-resourced, isolated and extreme environments.

The spread of shothole borer beetles in South Africa is proving tough to control

Trees

A tiny tree-killing beetle with the awkwardly long name of Polyphagous Shothole Borer was detected in South Africa for the first time last year. It’s now attacking and inserting its deadly fungal ally, Fusarium euwallaceae, in a wider array of tree species across a much wider geographical area.