Capetonians are well known for being immensely proud of our city, often bragging about the fact that Cape Town is leagues above the rest (in several respects, well, it just is). However, before we too hastily polish our halos, it’s time to examine 3 exciting new projects that have taken off elsewhere in the country that Cape Town should be learning from:
1. Waste Management – Durban’s waste-to-energy project
Durban’s methane gas-to-electricity project has recently been announced as one of the 100 most innovative and inspiring urban infrastructure projects in the world in the KPMG Infrastructure 100: World Cities publication. The Bisasar Road site (Africa’s busiest landfill site) generates 6.5MW of electricity which it feeds into the local grid – enough to supply up to 40 000 low-cost homes. Landfill gas from a second site, Marianhill, generates enough for a further 6 000 homes.
A high proportion of South Africa’s landfill waste consists of biodegradable waste, releasing heaps of methane gas into the atmosphere. The Durban facilities extract this methane (21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) using it as a fuel to generate electricity. The two sites are separately registered in terms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Clean Development Mechanism Scheme, and plans are in place to generate extra income by selling carbon credits to European and American firms. Watch a video here.
2. Safety & Security – Talking CCTV cameras in Pietermaritzburg
This brainy initiative, first implemented in Wiltshire in the United Kingdom in 2003, allows a CCTV operator to speak to people at a CCTV-monitored site. This has been demonstrated to have a marked effect on criminal activity: instead of merely acting as a passive observer simply directing law enforcement on the ground, the operator can now inform a potential law-breaker that he or she is being watched, and in this way likely deter the individual from committing the crime in the first place.
3. Arts & Culture – Johannesburg’s City of Gold urban art festival
Jozi recently hosted its third City of Gold urban art festival. The annual weeklong event aims to positively influence the public’s perception of graffiti art, and at the same time provides a platform for young South African artists to gain experience and insight from their international contemporaries.
Founder, Rasty, who was introduced to graffiti art in the late 1990’s, explains the purpose of the festival here.