There’s Always a Bright Side
Redeeming News during Lockdown
We’ve rounded up some redeeming news to lift your spirits during the lockdown.
The news these days seems to be singly focused on Covid-19 and lockdown. The dreary side at that. That’s not to say, though, that everything’s gloomy; there’s always a bright side.
Here’s the news that didn’t make the front page, but should have.
Breathe Easy | Improved Air Quality
South Africa’s air quality has improved by up to 70%! This, according to Dr Thuli Khumalo, the National Air Quality Officer of our Environmental Affairs Department.
It makes sense. The lockdown caused a sharp decline in road traffic and therefore carbon emissions. Let’s hope that as we adjust to our new normal once the lockdown is lifted, it includes keeping as many cars off the road as possible.
Cleaner air, fewer accidents—ah! Isn’t that something that earns a satisfying sigh of relief?
Single-Use, Served | Nature Makes a Meal of Plastic
There’s a new bacterium lining up at the Polyurethane (PU) buffet. Scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ discovered a bacteria that breaks down PU, a kind of plastic used in sports shoes, mechanical parts and synthetic fibres, like Spandex.
Until now, PU has proven difficult to recycle because it doesn’t melt at high temperatures. This means it lands up in landfills, where it releases toxic chemicals-including carcinogens.
The bacteria is the result of natural evolution. It was found at PU waste site. The microorganism has adapted and can breakdown the chemical bonds that keep PU together.
Hungry as our single-celled friends may be, we still produce far too much plastic than it can handle. However, this is a promising start!
The Streets Look a Little Brighter
Little to no pedestrians or cars in our cities is a rare sight. The lack of litter even more so!
The Cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town each launched clean-up projects to take advantage of the quiet time on the streets.
The CoJ team took to the streets to remove litter and sanitise public spaces. The city has also taken to Twitter to plead the public to stop littering, says The South African. Meanwhile, News24 spotted cleaners all over the Cape Town CBD—an initiative, they say, of the CCID urban management.
We applaud the leaders of these two prominent cities for their foresight.
Our Power Utilities Keeps things a Little Lighter
It’s been forever since we could celebrate anything Eskom related. Whodathunk it would take a pandemic to turn that around?
Eskom has leveraged the lesser power demands (while factories, shopping malls, and office buildings are closed) to carry out important short-term maintenance.
We’ll take it! Albeit short-term maintenance only. Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter says that the work will see Eskom “emerge from this lockdown a stronger and more reliable power utility.” Source
Level 4 on the Horizon
Finally, how can we not get excited about the easy of lockdown restrictions?
We’ll see some eyes emerging from the burrows on May 1st as SA’s lockdown level is lifted to 4. Stay tuned. We’ll keep you connected as the country forges on to reach level 1.