Ethekwini Municipality vows to tackle climate change after tornado hits KZN
Durban - The eThekwini Municipality which has seen the devastating effects of climate change in recent times has come up with an action plan to reduce carbon emission, Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda told international delegates in Durban on Thursday.
Welcoming international dignitaries who attended the 17th African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, Kaunda said the plan would contribute in slowing down climate change in the area.
The four-day event is due to end on Friday. He said the city had last month presented the plan to the C40 Mayors World Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.
He said the city, like the rest of the world, was vulnerable to unpredictable weather changing conditions. He said the recent tornados to hit the province were a result of climate change. The tornados swept through parts of KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and injured scores of people and destroyed homes. Another tornado swept through Bergville, to the north of KwaZulu-Natal, on Thursday.
“Here in Durban we are also experiencing heavy rains and strong winds that damage homes and infrastructure. Two people also lost their lives when the walls and roofs of their house collapsed while they were asleep at Inanda, north of Durban.
“These are devastating effects of climate change. If we don’t take drastic measures the effects will be worsened,” said Kaunda.
He called on environmental ministers to use the conference to come up with ideas of how African governments should intervene to protect the environment.
Environmental Minister Barbara Creecy, who on Thursday took over as the new African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) president from her Gabon counterpart Lee White, said although the African Development Bank had in 2017 declared Africa as having the second fastest growing economy in the world, it was still worse hit by climate change.
“Africa is the world’s second driest continent and the world’s hottest continent with deserts and drylands covering 60% of land surface area.
“Water scarcity impacts the lives of over 300 million Africans, of whom approximately 75% rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water,” said Creecy.
She also warned that the continent’s productive agricultural lands had declined significantly.