Recycled wastewater can benefit farmers and environment

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 11 September 2010

Wastewater used for irrigation - Dakar, Senegal

Recycling urban wastewater and using it to grow food crops can help mitigate water scarcity problems and reduce water pollution, but the practice is not being as widely implemented as it should, according to a new FAO report.

Use of reclaimed wastewater in agriculture has been reported in around 50 countries on what amounts to 10 percent of the world’s irrigated land, according to “The Wealth of Waste: The Economics of Wastewater Use in Agriculture,” published today at the start of World Water Week (Stockholm, 5-11 September).

While on a global scale only a small proportion of treated wastewater is used for agriculture, the practice is winning increased attention worldwide and in a few countries — Spain and Mexico, for example — a high proportion of reclaimed water is used in irrigation.

“The case studies in this report show that safely harnessing wastewater for food production can offer a way to mitigate competition between cities and agriculture for water in regions of growing water scarcity,” said Pasquale Steduto, Deputy Director of FAO’s Land and Water Division. “In the right settings, it can also help to deal with urban wastewater effluent and downstream pollution.”

Farmers would also be able to avoid some of the costs of pumping groundwater, while the presence of nutrients in the wastewater would reduce their fertilizer expenses.

“Properly treated and safely recycled water can potentially offer a ‘triple dividend’ to urban users, farmers and the environment,” said Steduto. Continue reading

MTN to migrate to cleaner sources of energy

Posted by: Yes Solar Cape (Cape Town, South Africa) – 12 August 2010

MTN is spending R22m to reduce carbon emissions at its headquarters by building a power plant fuelled by methane gas.

The “tri-generation” plant will produce 2MW of electricity and use an estimated 800 kilowatts of waste heat to air-condition the company’s buildings in SA, MTN said. MTN is applying to earn carbon credits from the project from the United Nation’s CDM programme.

MTN says it wants to migrate to alternative, cleaner sources of energy to “address environmental and commercial costs over the longer term.”

The company is currently looking at using solar, wind and hydrogen fuel cells to power its base transceiver stations in several African countries including Sudan, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Swaziland.

Generating its own energy also protects MTN from an unreliable electricity supply enabling it to roll out its services to areas off the grid, the firm said.

Source: Money Web

Nedbank first in carbon neutrality

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 14 July 2010

Financial services group Nedbank yesterday announced that it had achieved carbon neutrality, becoming the first large corporation to do so in SA.

Nedbank's billboard woven from 2000 recycled plastic bags

The group also became the first financial services organisation in Africa to achieve this status.

Nedbank CEO Mike Brown said the achievement epitomised Nedbank’s commitment to playing a leading role in sustainability.

Mr Brown said that the bank would leverage its carbon neutral status to help the government drive the green economy and deliver value for its stakeholders.

He said that Nedbank had saved R28m through reducing its use of electricity, paper and water, and had spent R2m on measuring its carbon footprint.

It offset 213000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent gases through carbon credits obtained from the Rukinga project in Kenya, at a cost of R12m.

Rukinga’s carbon credits had brought much-needed jobs and social benefits to its community, while allowing its land to be restored. Mr Brown also said that the group would offset its carbon footprint every year and hoped to secure a more diverse portfolio of carbon offsets in future.

He said that Nedbank would focus on the “huge challenge” of water for SA’s sustainability. Continue reading

Old plastic shirts for World Cup players

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 28 February 2010

Many of the world’s top soccer players, including Cristiano Ronaldo, will be wearing shirts made of old plastic bottles at the World Cup in South Africa.

The US uses 2 million platic beverage bottles every 5 minutes

There will be 9 national teams wearing this gear, including one of the favourites Brazil. The shirts are being made from polyester recycled from used bottles. Each shirt will use up to 8 plastic bottles retrieved from Japanese and Taiwanese landfill sites. Other teams trying out this gear include Portugal, Netherlands and the United States.

Nike, the world’s biggest sports goods manufacturer, says its new shirts will keep players drier and cooler than previous kit while reducing energy consumption in manufacture by 30% compared to normal polyester. A total of 32 teams will be at the month-long finals starting on June 11.

Manufacture of the shirts, which will also be sold to fans, used 13 million plastic bottles— enough to fill 29 football pitches— the US company said in a media release. The bottles were melted to produce polyester yarn.

South Africa says carbon emissions from the World Cup are expected to soar compared with the 2006 tournament in Germany, but it will invest in carbon credits to mitigate the impact. Nearly 7% of the emissions will come from air travel to South Africa.

Source: SowetanMobile