ETHEKWINI

Sustainable port management

Durban_harbor.jpg

eThekwini Municipality’s Health Unit has been given the go ahead by the Community and Emergency Services Committee to work in collaboration with the Netherlands and Transnet on an air quality project.

The collaborative effort will focus on a regulatory approach to air quality surveillance and monitoring for odour problems in the Port of Durban. This will specifically look at the petrochemical storage facility known as the Cutler Complex.

The complex occupies a focal point in the transport of and logistics chain and handles over 30 million tons of cargo each year through various petrochemical companies. The decision was taken at the monthly Community and Emergency Services Committee meeting held at City Hall on Thursday, 6 August 2015.

Durban’s port is the busiest sea port on the eastern seaboard of Southern Africa with almost 80 percent of the country’s liquid petrochemical requirement imported and exported through the port. Certain activities in the Cutler Complex have the potential to create varying degrees of impact if proper procedures are not followed, causing wide scale odour problems.

City units will learn best practices from the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands which has the largest petrochemical storage facility in the world. This collaboration will ensure a sustainable environmental port. The project has no cost implications for the city.

Also discussed at the meeting was the commendable effort by city firefighters. Chairperson of the Committee, Zandile Gumede commended their sterling work in delivering quality emergency services to the community of eThekwini, despite the challenges they face. This followed a report tabled before the committee by Chief Fire Officer, Mark te Water on the Fire and Emergency Services Unit for March and April 2015. Te Water presented information on fire stations operating at reduced service levels with overtime restrictions.

Despite these challenges the unit has performed exceptionally well. In March they doused 582 fires and a further 766 in April. The Municipality has plans to address the staff shortages and offering an improved service.  This included a recruitment drive earlier this year targeting potential women firefighters.

The female firefighters skills programme was inspired by the City’s need to maintain high levels of service delivery while at the same time addressing matters of gender equity within the Community and Emergency Services Unit.

A number of events to promote social cohesion were discussed at the meeting. These events will showcase the services the Parks, Leisure and Cemeteries Unit provides in an ongoing basis as well as bringing together communities to share ideas and interact on various platforms.

The activities are planned for the first week of September and include the Gospel Icons Discovery Competition Finale, the Launch of Arbor Week, a Lecture on Harry Gwala, focusing on his life, politics and legacy, the Ocean Economy Seminar, the Sports Vision 2015 Seminar, a Beach Sports Day, Art and Music at the Park and the Wenze Kahle Breakfast.

The 8th Annual Living Legends Awards will be held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on Saturday, 29 August 2015. The ceremony is aimed at honouring past and present eThekwini citizens who have made a positive and continued contribution to society through their various fields of expertise.

Tozi Mthethwa

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