Going green for 2010

Environmental Affairs Ministry’s Deputy
Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi exchanging
thoughts with LOC CEO Danny Jordaan at
the Green Goal 2010 Programme launch.

City of Johannesburg’s Matshidiso Mfikoe
signing the pledge to preserve the city’s
environment during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
(Images: Bongani Nkosi)

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2010 World Cup Organising Committee
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Department of Environmental Affairs
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Bongani Nkosi

The recently launched Green Goal 2010 Programme is helping South Africa ensure that next year’s Fifa World Cup is an environment-friendly event.

The programme was spearheaded by the country’s Department of Environmental Affairs and the 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) and made public on 26 November at Safa House, the LOC’s headquarters, in Johannesburg.

At the launch representatives from the nine host cities, the LOC and the department signed a pledge to support Green Goal’s objectives of minimising waste, reducing harmful fuel emissions, promoting energy efficiency and conserving water.

Government, especially at a local level, has committed to boost its services and community involvement to see these objectives realised.

Waste and water management

To manage waste effectively the LOC and host cities will use biodegradable packaging for takeaway food and drinks, and provide different bins to separate recyclable and non-recyclable litter at the fan parks and stadiums.

Measures will also be taken to ensure there is responsible water consumption during the tournament, so South Africans won’t be affected in the future, said Rejoice Mabudafhasi, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ deputy minister.

At the stadiums all urinals will be water-free, operating instead with hygienic, replaceable cartridges connected to drainpipes. Rain or run-off water will be used during cleaning.

Government has promised to collect waste efficiently and regularly and ensure that potable water and electricity supply is uninterrupted at stadiums and public viewing areas.

“The World Cup can … create awareness about the environment, leading to changed behavioural patterns and reduced consumption of resources such as water, electricity and fuel – as well as biodiversity protection,” Mabudafhasi said.

South Africa’s Green Goal partners include Fifa, Eskom, the Central Energy Fund, local businesses and countries such as Norway, UK, Denmark and Germany.

“These stakeholders are committed to a national drive to ensure the event does not leave a legacy of negative environmental impact,” Mabudafhasi added.

More trees for SA

Efforts are already underway to plant more trees across the country for 2010.

The City of Johannesburg, which will host big 2010 games like the opening and final match at Soccer City, has undertaken to plant 200 000 trees for the tournament.

“We have planted 187 000 trees, on top of the 10-million trees the city already has,” said Jenny Moodley, spokesperson of City Parks which manages Johannesburg’s cemeteries, open green areas, street trees and conserved spaces.

“We have been planting trees all over,” said Mabudafhasi.

Cutting down on fuel emissions

The biggest concern about the much-anticipated World Cup is that it will increase South Africa’s carbon footprint dramatically.

Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica told Parliament on 25 November that a feasibility study has shown the event will generate about 2.8-million tons of carbon emissions, almost 10 times the amount produced during the German World Cup in 2006.

International air travel will account for 67% of the carbon footprint, according to the study which was commissioned by the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Norwegian government.

The department noted that Germany did not include air travel in its carbon footprint in 2006, and this addition for 2010 will significantly add to South Africa’s volumes.

Most international visitors will have to fly to the country for the World Cup, unlike many in Germany who were able to drive in and out, LOC CEO Danny Jordaan said.

“What’s different is that Germany is the centre of Europe … fans from the Netherlands and France simply drove to stadiums and returned home the same day,” he said.

“We have identified a number of projects to offset our carbon footprint,” said Mabudafhasi.

Sonjica recently announced that spectators will be encouraged to use bicycles to reduce fuel emissions during the tournament. She said at least three of the nine host cities will soon introduce bicycle lanes along routes leading to stadiums and other spectator sites.

“The department will fund bicycle maintenance in these three host cities,” the minister said.

Government is also hoping the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by getting more people to use public transport instead of congesting routes with private cars.

Rea Vaya buses, part of Johannesburg’s BRT system, are already operational along many routes in the city and carry about 16 3000 passengers daily.

There are also plans to implement the system in the host cities of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria.

As was done during the Fifa Confederations Cup in June, other modes of public transport such as taxis and trains will be promoted in 2010 to minimise the use of cars.

A great, green spectacle

“We envisage that the 2010 Fifa World Cup will be a great football event and, most importantly, it will be hosted under excellent environmental stewardship,” said Mabudafhasi.

“[The World Cup] will be used to raise awareness of both local and global environmental issues … and will be used to lay a foundation and set new and higher standards for greening future events in South Africa,” she added.