News and updates from the continent

Global air quality a cause for concern

Global air quality a cause for concern

Dec 7, 2014

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report recently called for the unrestricted use of coal, oil and gas to be phased out by 2100. The report warns that the world would face “severe, pervasive and irreversible” damage from global warming unless action is taken to reduce record levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. China and the US have already unveiled their new pledges and commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In South Africa, through the remediation of waste tyres REDISA (Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa) has potentially offset approximately 10 316.00 tonnes of carbon emissions as of December 2013- September 2014. The figure is based on the assumption that all waste tyres remediated through the REDISA Plan could have either been burned -a trend which has become prevalent in our communities where tyres are burned either for warmth, or sold to remove the steel wire for sale or dumped in landfills.

Several tactics have been undertaken by REDISA to remediate waste tyres and ultimately reduce carbon emissions. This includes processing waste tyres through pyrolysis, crumbing, and controlled burning in cement kilns.

From December 2013 to October 2014, 5 519.00 tonnes of waste tyres have been remediated through the pyrolysis process, 11 407.00 tonnes have gone to cement kilns and the majority, 11 664.00 tonnes, have gone to tyre crumbing.

“There are many options available to cut emissions, including using energy more efficiently, switching to renewable energy sources and investing in large-scale afforestation.  We believe though that is time for a fundamental shift in how nations address waste. If waste is recovered and recycled back into new raw materials or used for energy efficiency, creating value in place of the costs associated with waste, then everyone benefits,” says Stacey Davison, director at REDISA.

The REDISA Plan means that for the first time globally, legislation has been used to remove responsibility of what happens to a product at the end of its life cycle from manufacturers.

The reality is that most businesses do not consider the waste that comes from their products or operations as their problem, and few factor the cost of recovering and recycling this waste into their cost of manufacturing, which is costing the environment dearly.

“We firmly believe that by looking at consumer products further than the end of their accepted lifecycle, and re-introducing them back into the economy will go a long way towards our reliance on fossil fuels for new product development,” says Davidson.

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