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A number of Joburg City Parks and Zoo projects helped Johannesburg to win South Africa's Greenest Metro Municipality Award.

The City of Joburg has won South Africa's Greenest Metropolitan Municipality Award for its waste, climate change and green economy-related job creation projects - many of which are implemented by Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo.

The award, which carries a R3.5-million prize, was announced by Deputy Environmental Affairs Minister Barbara Thomson at the fourth edition of the Green Municipality Competition in Tzaneen, Limpopo last week.

Tiaan Ehlers, the City of Joburg's Executive Director for Environment and Infrastructure Services, said the competition panel had looked at a number of Joburg Zoo projects, including its Biogas Digester, which powers the zoo's kiosk kitchen; its wetland water recycling system, which purifies storm water and diverts it into Zoo Lake; the zoo's small wetland system, situated in the tiger enclosure; and its substantial solar photovoltaic system.

Other sites and projects assessed by the panel were:

  • City Power's household smart metering system and the household solar geyser rollout in Alexandra;
  • Pikitup's Robinson landfill-to-gas project and the Zondi Buy-back Centre;
  • Joburg Water's Northern Water Works;
  • City Parks' innovative design and landscaping at the Diepsloot and Westpark Cemeteries;
  • City Parks' rollout of over 47 schools based food gardens;
  • City Parks' free-to-use outdoor gyms at the Petrus Molefe Eco-Park and nine other parks; and
  • The Dobsonville bus rapid transit system depot, as well as the Metro Park and BKB participating school, Sgodiphola Secondary in Cosmo City.

Ehlers said the prize money would be used to bolster the Schools Going Green Project in 2015-16

Joburg City Parks and Zoo MD Bulumko Nelana said City Parks, as the custodian of horticultural and zoological services in the City, "is committed to enhancing Joburg's ecological mandate while simultaneously offering residents the best outdoor experience in the city.

Bulumko said the award was testament to a city "that works as a collective amongst the various tiers of government, the entities in the City of Joburg, its residents, the private sector and the media to build a vibrant Joburg that is green and healthy and encourages active lifestyles."

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Deputy Minister Thomson said the competition was of great strategic importance, "as it helps to galvanise municipalities to initiate projects that address their Integrated Development Plans and forge links with our Extended Public Works Programme mandate of creating temporary employment and offering skills development opportunities".

Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services Councillor Matshidiso Mfikoe said the honour would strengthen the municipality's determination to build a city that offers a healthy, clean and safe environment in line with its Growth and Development Strategy 2040.

Source: www.joburg.org.za