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[GreenYes] Fwd: Article on Greening the World Summit

>From: "Monica Wilson" <>
>Date: Thu, 22 Aug 2002 11:00:16 -0700
>Johannesburg Summit Will Walk the Green Talk
>No effort has been spared to ensure that services and materials for the
>summit are environmentally friendly
>Business Day (Johannesburg)
>August 20, 2002
>By Tamar Kahn
>Johannesburg -- THE residents of Sandton are looking askance at hordes of 
>visitors set to descend on their suburb for the United Nations (UN) World 
>Summit on Sustainable Development, or earth summit, fearful that the 
>environmentally minded folk will leave a monumental pile of waste in their 
>Not so fast, says Mary Metcalfe, the Gauteng MEC for Agriculture,
>Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs.
>First of all, delegates will barely make a ripple in the veritable tide of
>waste spewed out by businesses and residents of Gauteng on a daily basis. 
>Johannesburg alone produces more than 104000 tons of waste each month, she 
>Secondly, every attempt is being made to ensure the UN gathering is a 
>model of best behaviour when it comes to conserving resources.
>Metcalfe is driving the R20m Greening the Summit initiative, funded by the
>provincial government, the Global Environment Facility, and the UN
>Development Programme. She says the project also hopes to "conscientise" 
>industry and the general public by demonstrating ways to minimise waste, 
>conserve water and use energy more efficiently.
>Summit delegates will be making use of more than 200 special buses,
>specially designed to reduce noxious emissions, and manned by drivers who 
>have been trained to minimise fuel consumption.
>No effort has been spared to ensure the services and materials worth R400m 
>procured for the summit are environmentally friendly.
>The UN summit at the Sandton Convention Centre is being encouraged to 
>manage its vast outpouring of waste effectively. For example, all glass 
>will be recycled, and all the administration offices have already been 
>furnished with recycling bins for paper, cardboard, plastic and cans.
>The estimated 12 tons of paper 10-million pages a day that will be used
>during the summit come from locally produced sugar-cane paper, or paper 
>from sustainably managed forests from abroad.
>Lights in public areas will be dimmed or switched off when not needed, and 
>sensors in the washrooms will save water by switching taps off and
>controlling how long toilets flush.
>Security guards have been instructed to close doors left swinging open to
>reduce the load on the airconditioning system.
>Even the indoor plants have been carefully selected to ensure that they
>require as little water as possible.
>Five thousand volunteers will spread the recycling message to delegates 
>and members of the public.
>Determining the most environmentally sound approach is not always easy. 
>Take cups, for example. The summit organisers initially planned to import
>thousands of potato-based biodegradable cups from the US. However, that 
>turned out to be prohibitively expensive, and so bleary eyed delegates 
>will be imbibing their caffeine fix from locally made polystyrene cups 
>after all. The cups will, however, be recycled.
>This is the first time that a UN conference has attempted to "go green", 
>and to make sure the delegates and hordes of visitors keep consumption and 
>production issues uppermost in their minds, the summit's organisers will 
>be installing a "consumption barometer" to provide regular updates on what 
>goes in and what goes out. Electronic billboards, sponsored by Coca-Cola, 
>will flash updates of how much waste and carbon the summit is generating, 
>how much water and energy is being consumed, and how much of the waste is 
>being recycled compared to the amount being sent to landfill sites.
>The results will also be published daily in local media.
>The UN summit is not the only site bitten by the green bug.
>The Global People's Forum at Nasrec is also attempting to run on
>environmentally friendly lines, and two of the other main venues in
>Johannesburg the Ubuntu Village and Nasrec, south of Johannesburg will run 
>on "green electricity" for the duration of the summit.
>Green electricity is produced from renewable energy sources, such as the 
>sun, wind, and ocean waves, and is generated in a environmentally
>responsible way. It is considerably more expensive than traditional means 
>of electricity generation, such as coal power.
>The two venues will be supplied with electricity by City Power 
>Johannesburg, which has committed itself to buying enough green 
>electricity to supply them.
>For these two sites, the green electricity will be generated by Agama
>Energy, certified by the National Electricity Regulator.
>Like most of the greening initiatives showcased at the summit, the true 
>test will not be its immediate effect, but the extent to which it is adopted in
>SA once the delegates and journalists have gone home.
>Copyright  2002 Business Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by 
>AllAfrica Global Media (

Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485

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