COP17 and Durban’s Debatably Dodgy Water

30 November 2011

It seems as though COP17 delegates may have been spooked by the absence of bottled water at the COP17 meetings in Durban.  Rumours have done the rounds that local drinking water may not be up to standard and the local municipality has been doing some fire-fighting: Read more »

Algal blooms switch to the southern hemisphere

29 November 2011

Toxic algae season is starting in South Africa (Photo: Bill Harding)

At this time of year we see the seasonal switch from blooms tailing off in the northern hemisphere and appearing in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.  South Africa has no reporting system for blue-green algal blooms, so they go almost unnoticed unless they occur in recreational water or some other prominent waterbody. Read more »

People will pay more to process their poop

28 November 2011

Expect to pay higher rates for treating your wastewater! Photo: Bill Harding

It is an inevitability that everyone is going to have to pay increased sewage rates in order to ensure that our surface waters do not become toxic wastelands (the eutrophication and related saga).  While many countries, including South Africa, are in deep, deep denial about this (the wilful ignorance saga), others are getting their heads around the costings. The longer the problem is ignored, the worse it becomes and another Eskom price-hike scenario heads our way. Read more »

Climate change issues hotting up

28 November 2011

As we get closer to the start of the two weeks of partying and gross expenditure that characterizes COP meetings, more and more debating issues are coming to the fore.  A common thread in many of these is a fervent appeal for the development of spines (spinal columns, not the cactus type) and the taking of strong and responsible action – not least to resolve the fragmented, accusatory and vitriolic nature of the interactions between those who believe climate change is a reality and those who consider it to be little more than a natural phenomenon. Read more »

Deadly diatom threatens California coast

27 November 2011

Red tides and Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are threatening the health of humans and marine life along the California coastline.  The San Francisco Chronicle reports today that

Marine scientists are trying to find out why previously unknown blooms of toxic algae are suddenly proliferating along the California coast, killing wildlife and increasing the risk of human sickness. Read more »

The Green Religion and the ‘myth’ of climate change

26 November 2011

Here’s an article that will provide some interesting weekend reading for those following the climate change debate.  An Australian professor of geology at the University of Adelaide, Ian Plimer, has some very strong words against the theory of human-induced climate change. Read more »

More reasons to worry about wastewater effluents

25 November 2011

A substantial portion of the flows into South Africa’s inland dams is made up of “treated” wastewater effluent – sewage effluents.  Although “treated”, these effluents still contain a vast slew of nasties that are not removed by the basic wastewater treatment processes.  In cases where the infrastructure collapse and the horrors revealed by the “Green Drop Report” (?), then the load of pollutants, into the environment and into the source of most of the nations drinking water, becomes substantially worse. Read more »

Information darkness looms!

25 November 2011

Droplets has been quiet for a couple of days – partially in shock that the ANC-led government had the ignorant arrogance to continue to steam-roller their pet secrecy bill through the Parliament, coupled with their mindless attacks on their own members who showed some spine and refused to vote on this (so much for freedom of ideas and expression!).  Apparently these independent thinkers will now be ‘disciplined’.

My concerns are further coupled to the warning signs emanating from the fact that the cabinet believes it has the ability to “review findings made by the Constitutional Court”.  Walk, talk about punching about your weight class! Read more »

Municipalities allow wastewater to pollute our environment

22 November 2011

Massive and sustained environmental pollution not a good example (Photo: Bill Harding)

Two years ago I visited this site on the Cape Flats near Cape Town.  This sewer main (image above) was leaking, OK, not so much leaking as gushing,  pretty much then as it still is today – the image above was taken this morning (see YouTube video here).  Not too far away (see image below), the next sewer manhole is completely broken – resulting in a dangerous trap for children or animals to fall into.   Read more »

South Africa a Dirty Economy (in more ways than one)

21 November 2011

In a Cape Times primer on COP17, South Africa is today described as being a large and dirty economy, this referring to our reliance on fossil fuels for power generation.  Seventy-percent of our power generation is from coal, and around 50% of the produced electricity goes to the mines and the aluminium smelters.  South Africa’s biggest skills remain digging stuff out of the ground!  Options to relieve the demand on coal as our primary energy source continue to be offset by those who believe that wind and solar offer a viable alternative that can support continued economic growth in the short to medium term.  Of course they perpetuate these myths safe in the knowledge that they do not have to prove their statements. Read more »