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WasteCon 2016 to focus on waste management legislation

WasteCon 2016 is the flagship conference of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) and one of the most important events on the environmental calendar this year.

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Waste-wise organisations cannot afford to miss a spot at this year’s event, taking place from 17 to 21 October 2016 at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg. The theme of the conference is ‘The Changing Face of Waste Management’.

“We encourage people and organisations operating in the environmental and waste management industry to register for this exclusive conference where best practices will be shared from all over the globe,” says Prof Suzan Oelofse, president of the IWMSA. Early bird registrations are open and interested parties can benefit from the reduced fee before 31 May 2016.

The keynote speaker for the event is Torben Kristiansen, vice-president of waste and contaminated sites at COWI A/S based in Denmark. With his extensive experience in waste management, Kristiansen will delve into the current status of the waste management industry, legislation and practice in Europe.

Source: bizcommunity


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Zimbabwe: Tourism Sector Feels Heat of Strong Dollar

The Zimbabwe Council for Tourism will approach Government to propose incentives and initiatives meant to mitigate the negative impact of the dollar-rand exchange rate disparity on the tourism sector.

ZCT president Mr Francis Ngwenya said yesterday that continued weakening of the South African rand has made Zimbabwe a more expensive destination, resulting in a loss of visitors from that market.

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This adds another significant cost to an industry battling to contain or limit the effect of the 15 percent value added tax on accommodation sales to visitors, absorbed fully or partially by operators to avoid passing on the cost, as this would drive away the tourists.

He said Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi has given ZCT audience over the issue and another round table discussion had been set with him to present their multi-pronged strategy, which in the main seeks to address the negative impact of the rand.

The Tourism minister is on record saying appreciation of the greenback against the rand, while not the sole reason for loss of visitors from SA, has made Zimbabwe uncompetitive as a destination.

“For us South Africa used to be and continues to be a big market. We need to find ways of getting that market to come back into Zimbabwe; whether it is by pricing in rand or whether by coming up with packages suitable for that region specifically,” Mr Ngwenya said.

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Source: allafrica


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SA Tourism Ministry mourns one of its trailblazers

PRETORIA, South Africa – Tribute to Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo by the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa:

As an individual, Tu – as she fondly known by her siblings – was just that –an individual. And what an exceptional one! She was born on 14 July 1970 in KZN. She holds a Master of Science Degree from the University College of Buckinghamshire, UK. At the time of her untimely death, she was studying towards her PhD in Maritime Affairs (World Maritime University) in Sweden with a specific focus on maritime policy and job creation.

Within the tourism industry she was affectionately known as Sindi. She joined the tourism industry as an intern at South Africa Tourism and in 1996 she worked as a junior Tourism Officer at the City of Tshwane, in 1999 she joined the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape as a Chief Director for Tourism and Economic Development. She was determined to fly.

In 2004 she joined the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism as an advisor to the then Minister of Tourism, Mr. Marthinus van Schalkwyk. During her term at this office, she demonstrated her deep understanding and insight of the tourism sector, and provided strategic leadership to the Department in general. She soared!

In 2006 she was appointed as the head of the first ever Tourism Black Economic Empowerment Council. During her tenure within the Tourism BEE Council, the tourism sector was the very first economic sectors to develop the BEE sector codes. This clearly demonstrated her vision to ensure transformation within the tourism industry.

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In 2008 she was appointed as the Deputy Director-General for the tourism branch. As a great thinker, innovator and a leader, she introduced new programmes that changed the landscape of the tourism sector in South Africa. She was very passionate about Tourism Human Resource Development and many programmes were introduced flowing from the Strategy. These include amongst others, the National Tourism Careers Expo which she later introduced at SAMSA, Service Excellence which was piloted during 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup, Local government intervention programmes and Responsible Tourism. South Africa is the first country in the world to develop a Responsible Tourism Strategy and this was realized through the great efforts of Sindi. As a person with a vision, she identified an opportunity that the sector could pursue in Marine and Health Tourism. Her contribution in shaping and bringing new insights into the industry was enormous. She was a visionary and a coach. She dedicated her in life to bringing change into the tourism industry and inspired both young and old. Yes, when she flew, she lit up the sky!

She was a founding member of the Cape and Craft Design Institute, and also a lifetime fellow of the Emerging Leaders Programme from Dukes University in the United States and University of Cape Town in South Africa. She served on the National Heritage Council, Tourism KwaZulu Natal, TETA Maritime Chamber and Cullinan Holdings as a Non-Executive Director. Through her hard work she was nominated in 2013 as the Best Female Public Servant. She also received an award from the University of Durban Westville (University of KZN) for being exemplary alumni. In 2015, she was awarded the IPM ‘Business Leader of the Year’ award, also in recognition of her achievements. She flew onward and upward!

She was passionate about issues of transformation, human development and she represented South Africa proudly in many multilateral fora. Her zest for life was contagious and we count ourselves lucky to have worked with such an inspirational soul. Those of us who were close to her, we will never forget her ready smile and gentle nature.

Sindi was a fearless fighter, a trailblazer and a great nurturer, strongly believed in making a contribution to people`s lives. Unfortunately, the silent killer disease called cancer decided to strike this great tree of Africa, and on 11 February 2016, she succumbed and was called to her eternal home.

To those of us left behind it is our responsibility to pick up the baton and finish the race. We shall continue to celebrate her wonderful life and legacies. Yes, we will continue to be inspired by her strength and selfless service in advocating tourism and making it relevant to all South Africans. May her gentle soul rest in peace. Sindi is still flying – this time with the angels.

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Source: eturbonews


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Seaweed farmers profit from direct line to research

A ‘cluster research’ model that worked for seaweed growers in Zanzibar should be widely adopted, says Flower Msuya.

The results of scientific studies are of little use to farmers unless they stem from applied research that can enhance the work they do to make a living. Such research could, for example, lead to innovative methods that help seaweed farmers earn more by producing high-quality crops or adding value to their seaweed by processing it rather than selling it raw.

But research results often fail to reach the people who can benefit from them. To avoid this, the Zanzibar Seaweed Cluster Initiative (ZaSCI) has been practising cluster-based research, an approach that has improved the applicability of research over the past ten years with interesting results.

Direct line to research

Two features differentiate cluster-based research from other forms. One is that it tackles challenges brought to scientists by a particular community, such as farmers. The other is that the research findings are given back to this group as direct feedback, which they then use to improve their day-to-day activities. ZaSCI is a good, current example of how cluster research programmes can link farmers directly with research institutions.

“Because of the initiative, farmers are now communicating with each other through mobile phones to discuss challenges and day-to-day needs that they can then take to research institutions for answers.” Flower Msuya

Two types of seaweed are farmed on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar: cottonii and spinosum. Cottonii is in higher demand because it has more applications in industrial processes than spinosum (for example in food and cosmetics manufacturing), and so at 50 US cents per kilogram, its price is double that of the other seaweed. But cottonii has failed to thrive in recent years because of the impact of climate change: increased surface seawater temperatures and diseases have kept it from growing at all in many areas, and have cut its production in the few places where it still grows.

Farmers were troubled by the failure of this higher-value seaweed to grow, and brought the issue to ZaSCI meetings. Researchers listened to their concerns and focused on developing innovative methods to both produce the higher-valued seaweed and add value to the lower-priced seaweed.

They developed bamboo rafts, floating lines and recently a novel method of using tubular nets to do this. These methods can be used in water that is one to three metres deep as opposed to water of a few centimetres in depth, where seaweed is currently farmed. Conditions such as temperature and salinity are more stable in deeper waters, and so they favour better growth: more seaweed is produced per unit area, and die-offs are minimised.

Over the past ten years, ZaSCI research has enabled farmers to farm more of the higher-valued seaweed and produce a number of value-added products — such as foods including juice, jam and cake, and powder used to make products or against infections — that sell at a much higher price than raw seaweed. A good example is seaweed powder, which sells at US$6 per kilogram compared with 25 US cents per kilogram of unprocessed spinosum.

And the benefits go beyond the direct economic impact of research: because of the initiative, farmers are now communicating with each other through mobile phones to discuss challenges and day-to-day needs that they can then take to research institutions for answers.

Interactive links

ZaSCI operates using a ‘triple helix’ model that promotes interactive relationships between universities, industry and government. The presence of the government is important but not sufficient: policy issues are addressed by soliciting opinion from a variety of people, and assessed alongside views from government representatives.

In practice, this means ZaSCI links farmers (60 per cent of whom are women) with research institutions and government departments responsible for seaweed farming. It also links farmers or processors with each other as well as with exporters.

 

Cameroon fishing industry and tourism battered by extreme weather

As storms wreak havoc on a key industry, prompting visitors to stay away, fishermen in Kribi fear not only the sea but also the future.

For more than 15 years, Raoul Meno has been fishing the waters off the coastal town of Kribi in southern Cameroon. Occasionally, he has had to face down storms and high seas to bring home a catch to support his family. But now, he is scared.

“I go for days without going to sea for my catch because of the frightening weather,” Meno says.

A bout of persistent heavy rains and surging tides this year has made fishing in Kribi increasingly difficult and left fishermen like him struggling to make a living.

“This is the first time we are witnessing such aggressive weather,” he says. “I wonder what is really going wrong with nature.”

As Kribi struggles to cope with hard times in its fishing industry, the weather is also hitting tourism, simultaneously threatening to destroy the town’s two main sources of income.

With its sandy beach, seaside resort and beautiful lowland scenery, Kribi contributes significantly to Cameroon’s tourism industry. It is the country’s second most popular destination after the Waza and Bouba N’Djida parks in the north.

But statistics from Kribi’s city council show that tourist visits to the region in 2014 dropped by more than 60% compared with the year before.

According to Eric Serge Epoune, a spokesman for Cameroon’s ministry of tourism, the loss of income from just one coastal town is having a catastrophic impact when combined with other pressures on the nation’s economy. “At a time when the Boko Haram scare has ground to a halt tourism in Cameroon’s far north, a harsh climate is preventing our second most popular tourist zone from pulling in visitors,” he says. “Tourism and crafts are at a dead end, and let’s not even talk about the hotel business – it is virtually nonexistent.”

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Erratic rains and high tides have played havoc with Kribi’s hopes of giving the city a facelift – and an economic boost. According to city council authorities, rains have caused major delays to the start of construction on a new urban development master plan, due to be completed by 2025.

The revitalisation was scheduled to begin once building was finished on a new deep-sea port and gas plant, but Cameroon’s increasingly extreme weather has slowed down construction on those projects.

Environmental experts in Yaoundé, the capital, say all the new construction might have made the area more vulnerable to erratic rains and sea surges as a result of worsening deforestation.

Most of the forests in Cameroon’s south have been sacrificed for development projects, they say, including huge tracts of land around Kribi that have been cleared for the new port and gas plant.

Experts say mangrove forests along the coast are crucial to protecting the shoreline and mitigating damage from storms and high seas. “Even if we negate all benefits of mangroves as forests, their value as the ‘shoreline protector’ should be enough to convince us to conserve them,” says Youssoufa Bele, one of the authors of a 2014 report about the importance of mangroves by the Centre for International Forestry Research.

The trees’ roots spread across large areas, soaking up water and holding soil and sediment, he says.

Samuel Nguiffo of the Centre for Environment and Development in Cameroon, an NGO that deals with forest and land issues, says the first step to protecting the port and gas plant from extreme weather could be through major reforestation efforts.

“A tree-planting initiative by the Kribi local council with support from the government is necessary along the entire coastline,” he says. “This would restore the dune ecosystem and reduce the impact of rising sea levels, as well as minimise any future storm surges that could pose a potential danger to the port’s infrastructure.”

For now, Kribi is still grappling with the harsh weather that has undercut its economy. While fishermen have become afraid of the sea, the women who buy, smoke and sell fish also are struggling to stay in business.

Many have been left with no alternative but to drive to Douala, Cameroon’s commercial capital, about 250km from Kribi, to buy imported fish and sell it on at a higher price.

“The selling of fresh and smoked fish is my life,” said Helen Taku, a fish vendor in Kribi. “I feed my family and send my children to school on income from the fish trade. I really fear for the future.”

Source: The Guardian


 

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