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Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo


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Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo is playing its part in improving air quality, as the City plans to move towards energy efficiency through cleaner fuel sources and improved public transport.

lowcarbon1THE City of Johannesburg is determined to shift to a less carbon-intensive economy and decrease the volumes of greenhouse gases currently being emitted.

Playing its part, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo has initiated projects to help improve air quality in the city.

Since 2006 the City has planted some 200 000 trees in townships like Soweto in southern Johannesburg. The project, Johannesburg's biggest green revolution, has helped improve air quality what is already one of the most forested cities in the world, with more than a million trees.

City Parks also grows its own trees and supplies surplus stock to communities for greening projects and to plant in their gardens. The nursery produces up to 100 000 tree seedlings a year, which, after five years, will be large enough to plant on pavements and in parks. Johannesburg also has more than 2 300 parks and more than 10 000 hectares of tracks and trails. City Parks has also rehabilitated southern catchment areas and green services and assessments have been provided.

The Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance, Councillor Geoff Makhubo, says reducing the carbon load requires three major shifts:

  • Developing and retrofitting infrastructure to ensure maximum energy efficiency;
  • Changing the composition of energy supply and shifting towards renewables; and
  • Changing consumer behaviour to limit energy consumption through a concerted shift towards public transport.

Developing and retrofitting infrastructure

In the past year 27 091 solar water heaters were installed in Alexandra as part of a comprehensive programme to move towards energy-efficient power sources. The City also introduced a programme to retrofit all council-owned buildings with energy-efficient lighting.

Creating a renewable energy supply

The City has completed feasibility studies on three ground-breaking projects to create diversified energy sources for the city. A waste-to-energy project will feed power into the electricity grid and address the concerns about decreasing space at landfills.

Through a partnership, the City will be extracting landfill gas from various landfill sites intending to generate 18 MW of electricity. The actual electricity generation will start within the next six months, and Eskom will purchase the electricity from this project.

Another study was conducted to test the feasibility of converting Johannesburg's Metrobus fleet from diesel to natural gas. This will not only lead to a cleaner environment but also lead to a reduction in running costs.

Changing attitudes towards public transport

Effective and accessible public transport also forms part of the City's concept of Corridors of Freedom in which transit arteries will be flanked by high-density housing and commercial development. Access to safe, affordable and convenient public transport will reduce the need for private motors and significantly help reduce carbon emissions in the city.

During the past year Metrobus transported almost 16.5 million passengers while 39 362 people commuted daily on the modern Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System. The first two phases of Rea Vaya have been completed and the next stage will see the greater integration of the bus system with other modes of transport. This includes constructing three large interchanges at Sandton, Westgate and Pan Africa in Alexandra so passengers can transfer between Gautrain, commuter rail, Metrobus, mini bus and metered taxi modes.

Makhubo says Johannesburg is also making tangible progress in delivering basic services to its residents. Some 3 307 households received first-time electricity connections and 5 343 new public lights were installed. More than 98% of residents now have access to quality water and the City has upgraded gravel roads in Braamfischerville, Diepkloof, Ivory Park and Orange Farm and drafted designs for rehabilitating Naledi Bridge, New Canada and Emmarentia Dam.