This picture was taken during a tour at Mariannhill landfill site. Photo credit: Landfill Conservancies (via Climate and Clean Air Coalition)

A local landfill project has helped secure the Honorary Climate and Clean Air Award for Durban. 

The award was conferred on the city for its Durban Landfill Conservancies project by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition in Bonn, Germany on Sunday.

The awards recognise exceptional contributions and actions to implement projects, programmes, policies and practices that reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), such as black carbon, methane, hydrofluorocarbons and tropospheric ozone. 

“Reducing these dangerous air and climate pollutants is key to improving air quality, slowing the rate of climate change and provides multiple benefits for health, ecosystems and the sustainable development goals.”

The landfill project, said the city in a statement, was a successful landfill that reduced emissions of methane, provided safe waste disposal, employed workers from surrounding communities, and produced electricity for the local grid. 

READ: Power to the waste pickers

“Its landfill gas project was the first in Africa and is still one of the most successful in the world. The project has also provided assistance to several other countries and cities within and outside Africa, proving the learning role that Durban is playing in the global arena.”


The Climate and Clean Air Coalition shows in this infographic how long short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) 'live' in the atmosphere.


Mayor Zandile Gumede said this was a “proud moment” for Durban and the eThekwini Municipality. 

“Durban’s recent winning streak is indicative of the world class city that we are. Our officials are experts in the field and our global partnerships and networks mean that there is continuous sharing and learning of best practice. 

Being bestowed this award, shows that Durban is serious about climate change and cares about the impacts it has on the community. By making changes to the way we operate and by reducing our carbon foot print, we are leading by example and building a new resilient city.”

In Durban, methane is extracted from the landfill and used to run generators that produce electricity for the local grid reducing its impact on the climate and providing a cleaner energy source. 

“To date Durban’s landfills have avoided approximately 2.5 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions. It has also benefitted local air quality by reducing emissions of harmful gases.”

The improved landfills have also prevented liquid runoff from polluting groundwater, reduced odour, and prevented the breeding of disease carrying animals like flies and rats.

The Mercury