Innovative Investments Will Ensure ‘A Better Tomorrow’ For City Residents, Says Mayor Tau
Innovative enterprises that will address water shortages, generate energy from underground water pipes and turn rubble from dumpsites into paper will soon be established in Johannesburg.
These are among a range of investments in the "Blue Economy" announced by the Executive Mayor, Parks Tau, during his annual State of the City Address.
The objective is "to use smart innovation to solve complex problems," he said. Through the introduction of new innovations "we are making sure that today is better than yesterday and all our tomorrows are better than today."
The City's new Blue Economy strategy includes the introduction of turbines within the underground water network to harness the energy generated by the water flow and feed it into the power system.
Incentives will be given to households, office buildings and commercial sites to install low-flush toilets and water-saving urinals to encourage behaviour that will lead to savings on this scarce natural resource.
The City's investment in maintenance programmes to prevent unaccounted for water has achieved measurable results. "We have maintained the same water reserve margin for several years, despite our increasing population," said Mayor Tau.
A new initiative will be to collect 250 000 tons of rubble from illegal dumpsites and turn it into stone paper used for packaging, containers and shopping bags. This will "unlock the value in such rubble and subsidise the cost of removing it." Organic waste will be diverted to bio-digesters to harvest gas for fuel and energy.
Mayor Tau said the City is looking at ways to introduce fruit trimmings from the Fresh Produce Market as a flour replacement for bread-making. This will not only result in healthier bread but also create new entrepreneurial opportunities for communities. Micro mushroom farms "will turn nutrition into viable businesses for thousands of community-based operators.
Johannesburg will, in October, host the international EcoMobility Festival where the emphasis will be on sustainable transport alternatives. During this week-long event in the Sandton CBD the City will highlight its investments in the Rea Vaya rapid bus network and the introduction of dedicated cycle lanes and pedestrian walkways.
The City's innovations represent "a new approach to energy, roads, water management and waste processing," said Mayor Tau, but also open opportunities for large sectors of the community "to make money and improve their basic living conditions."