Showcasing SA’s climate response

23 November 2011

If you want to find out what the South African government, business and NGOs are doing about climate change – visit the upcoming South Africa Climate Change Response Expo alongside Durban’s International Convention Centre.

An initiative of the Department of Environmental Affairs, the expo runs concurrently with the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – from 28 November to 9 December – and is free of charge and open to the public.

The expo will showcase “green” initiatives undertaken by the government, corporates, NGOs and small business, educating visitors on how climate change affects us all, and on various steps taken to ensure that people start living a “greener” life.

Local suppliers, indigenous plants

Environmental Affairs deputy director-general Blessing Manale said that, in line with the greening principle, the expo organisers would be using as many local KwaZulu-Natal suppliers as possible.

“We want to indicate to people of our country that South Africa has resources that can form part of green living,” Manale said. “It is only when capacity is limited that we are sourcing suppliers from elsewhere in South Africa. For example, only plants indigenous to KZN have been chosen to beautify the SACCR Expo.”

Bottled water has been banned from the exhibition space. Water coolers will be supplied throughout the venue, with clean drinking water – filled from the taps. Plastic cups will be supplied, and these and the coolers will be branded with water conservation messaging.

“People may question the use of plastic cups, but these have been chosen as they can then be recycled through our onsite waste management system,” Manale said.

“We did consider having biodegradable cups, but there was a concern that these may be confused with plastic and added to the recycling – which, being non-recyclable, would cause problems in this waste stream.”

Shuttle service

The different sections of the exhibition space have been named after trees, and each tree will be showcased by its own marquee.

Small ecosystem displays will also be set up, accompanied by information to on their role and value in environmental systems.

Avoiding private vehicle usage as much as possible, on arrival from the airport, a shuttle service will be made available to transport all COP 17 participants to their accommodation or the central transport hub, which is 10 minutes away from the expo venue.

“The emissions associated with transportation typically compromise the largest wedge of an event’s carbon footprint, and this has spurred an impressive range of interventions to reduce the need for emissions – intensive private transportation,” Manale said.

The expo is situated at Centrum Car Park, Bram Fischer Road, within 300 metres of the International Convention Centre, directly between the COP 17 transport hub and the formal COP 17 negotiating space in the Convention Centre.

It will be open from 10am to 6pm Sundays through Thursdays, and from 10am to 8pm on the Fridays and Saturdays of COP 17.

Source: BuaNews