The Port of Ngqura is the only port with a green status in the South African port system and according to Transnet National Ports Authority it is working hard to maintain this status through a number of innovative measures.
Mandilakhe Mdodana, Environmental Manager says Ngqura is the only South African port that was subjected to environmental legislation during its entire development and adding that it will continue to be during its operation and future development.
The port’s ‘green’ initiatives include among others a number of unique biodiversity conservation programmes, which were implemented since inception.
Prior to any construction in the port a search and rescue exercise is conducted, which is aimed at identifying plants and animals that need to be rescued. Recently, the port had to relocate a number of endemic pigmy hairy footed gerbils (Gerbillurus paeba), to ensure that they were not negatively impacted by the construction of the TNPA’s Admin Craft Basin.
Poison-free rodent control
The Port’s poison free initiative uses poison-free methods and natural predators to manage and control the rodent population in the port. Natural predators such as owls are deployed in strategic areas around the port and rodent bait stations are filled with non-poisonous bait such as sunflower seeds to trap rodents.
TNPA preserves the most sensitive and threatened South African vegetation types found within the port, namely Bontveld and Messic Succulent Thicket. These provide habitat for a number of endemic species. The areas are identified in line with the Coega Development Corporation’s open space management plan – therefore development within these areas is not encouraged.
Fish monitoring, which started prior to construction, is still ongoing. It is conducted by a team of researchers under the Bayworld Centre for Research and Education led by Dr Matt Dicken. This tag and release programme is recognised by the Oceanographic Research Institute.
Other environmental initiatives that promote sustainable development in the port include rainwater harvesting for ablution purposes, the implementation of the Department of Environmental Affairs’ approved environmental management plans and a marine mammal monitoring programme. This entails having employees on the lookout for marine mammals such as whales and dolphins.
“We ensure that our compliance to environmental legislation remains a priority at all times. We are particularly looking forward to executing our future capital projects without harm to the environment,” said Tandi Lebakeng, Port Manager.