City looks at climate change effects
THE local effects of global climate change have led to the City of uMhlathuze setting up a ‘Green Team’ to implement an action plan.
The matter was included in Wednesday’s Exco agenda, where the stark reality of the global phenomenon was unpacked in terms of current and projected future weather change impacts.
Among others, the issue has a direct bearing on the city’s growth and development, infrastructure and services, job creation, health, disaster management and human settlement planning.
Mitigation measures would require a strong reliance on strategic partnerships and significant grant funding.
The city’s climate change profile over the last decade has highlighted a number of impacts, including:
• Prolonged drought from 20132017 which led to Level 4 water restrictions and risk to industry, communities, livestock and agriculture;
• Intense sea swell and increased coastal storm events have severely eroded beaches, particularly north of Richards Bay, placing coastal development as well as tourism under risk;
• An increase in local flood events, which test storm water systems in urban areas and place lives and property at risk in unplanned settlements and vulnerable communities in flood prone areas. Also a threat to transport routes, as well as creating conditions for the spread of water-borne diseases;
• Soaring rise in summer temperatures, which will lead to • lower productivity as well as a higher dependency on cooling and air conditioning, thus increasing energy costs; Increased wind activity which will impact air quality given the amount of material stockpiled at industries.
The Climate Change Action Plan, linked to international, national and provincial strategies, prioritising selective interventions in the following sectors:
• Coastal management
• Water resources management
• Stormwater management
• Open space and biodiversity management
• Waste management
• Energy management
• Integrated transport planning
• Spatial planning, land use and designing for sustainability
• Human settlement planning
• Disaster management responses
• Air quality management.
Issues such as protection against coastal erosion and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions are part of the city’s climate change studies Dave Savides