Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality Biosolids Enrichment Project Wins First Green Economy Change Champions Competition

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October 2021 – Tshwane City Metropolitan Municipality won the first Green Economy Change Champions competition for its project that adds value to biosolids produced in wastewater treatment facilities.

The competition celebrated inspiring examples of green economy innovation at municipal level across the country at an online event organized by GreenCape in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF). The competition was designed to showcase municipalities that apply innovative and sustainable green technologies that help improve service delivery.

“We are very happy to be able to offer this platform in partnership with GreenCape in order to recognize excellence at the level of local communities. Our goal is to share more widely what is being done concretely by various municipalities to advance innovation in the green economy in South Africa to tackle some of the country’s most pressing service delivery challenges. We believe this is an opportunity for municipalities to learn from each other and replicate successful projects, ”said Cecelia Kok, FNF research and advocacy project manager in South Africa.

“Municipalities have been given the mandate to promote a safe and healthy environment under Article 152 (a) of the Constitution. Local government is therefore at the center of the development and climate challenge and it is increasingly recognized that local government is an essential part of the solution to tackle climate change. The vision of the Local Government Support Strategy, developed by the South African Association of Local Governments (SALGA), is to create climate resilient and environmentally sustainable municipalities. We are delighted that through this competition, municipalities can celebrate and share lessons learned from new green economy solutions that have been tested and successfully implemented, ”said Dorah Marema, Portfolio Manager (Municipal Sustainability) for SALGA.

Five finalists were selected for the showcase following an application process that saw a number of inspiring municipal projects enter.

The following projects have been shortlisted as finalists alongside the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality Biosolids Enrichment Project.:

  • Preekstoel biofiltration water treatment plant in the municipality of Overstrand.
  • Rand Water’s use of satellite technology for leak detection.
  • Renovation of streetlights in the Municipality of Cape Agulhas with LED technology.
  • Cape Town GreenUp Project

Six factors were taken into account:

  • Is the project significantly remarkable and innovative compared to other municipalities?
  • How sustainable are the changes and improvements made?
  • Does the project have a positive impact on environmental conservation?
  • How financially viable is the project.
  • How did the municipality overcome complex challenges, such as procurement, financing, etc.?
  • Is the project a good model for replication (within the same municipality or for other municipalities in South Africa)?

Various municipal specialists in sustainable development were part of the jury, in particular:

  • Dorah Marema, Portfolio Manager (Municipal Sustainability) for the South African Association of Local Governments (SALGA).
  • Dr Henry Roman, Director of Environmental Services and Technologies at the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).
  • Georgina Ryan, Director of Environmental Economics in the Economic Policy Division of the National Treasury.
  • Nazeem Hendricks, Technical and Financial Analyst at the National Treasury (Employment Fund).
  • Paul Currie, Director of Urban Systems at ICLEI Africa.

“Conventional sewage sludge disposal options are no longer appropriate and lead to sacrificial land disposal, constant influx to landfills, uncontrolled land spreading on agricultural land and contamination of groundwater. The City has realized that sludge composting produces a low value product and is not sustainable in the long term. In addition, mechanical solutions such as incineration and pyrolysis are capital intensive and expensive.

Therefore, a large-scale pilot project for biosolids fortification has been implemented and is proving to be successful. Our current service provider, Agriman, won a call for tenders in 2010 for a period of 15 years. Our efforts translate into a real contribution to the development of the green economy, ”said Kerneels Esterhuyse, Acting Director (Wastewater Treatment) of the Metropolitan Municipality of the City of Tshwane.

“The Metropolitan Municipality of Tshwane City would like to thank the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and GreenCape for giving us the opportunity to participate in the inaugural showcase of green economy change champions. The implementation of sustainable green economy projects within local government can be accelerated by sharing initiatives, implementation challenges and successes with each other. We thank all the municipalities that also participated in the competition, your projects are all very impressive and we look forward to implementing them in our municipality, ”he added.

Tshwane City Metropolitan Municipality wins a professionally produced video that will showcase the project and its successes and give them the opportunity to inspire other municipalities in South Africa.

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