Port of Ngqura bags nature-friendly kudos
The Transnet National Ports Authority’s Port of Ngqura has been identified as the only port with a green status in the South African port system.
The innovative way the port proactively maintains its status includes its implementation of a few unique biodiversity conservation programmes since its inception in 2012.
Port of Ngqura environmental manager Mandilakhe Mdodana said: “In our view, it means that [Ngqura] is the only port that was subjected to environmental legislation during its entire development [and] operation, and will be during its future development.”
The port authority’s corporate affairs manager, Sakhiwo Tetyana, said the first of the biodiversity conservation programmes was rodent control.
This initiative employed poison-free methods and natural predators to manage and control the rodent population in the port, he said.
Natural predators such as owls are deployed in strategic areas around the port and rodent bait stations are filled with non-poisonous bait, such as sunflower seeds.
Threatened vegetation found within the port, namely mesic succulent thicket and Bontveld, provide a habitat for a number of endemic species.
“The areas are identified in line with the Coega Development Corporation’s open-space management plan and development within these areas is not encouraged,” Tetyana said.
A team of researchers, led by Dr Matt Dicken under the Bayworld Centre for Research and Education, investigated the composition and abundance of fish as part of the port’s fish-monitoring initiative.
“The most recent results indicated that the port is serving as a nursery for fish and gully sharks,” Tetyana said.
“This is attributed to the good water quality within the port and the calm, sheltered environment provided by the port infrastructure.”
However, the port had to relocate a number of endemic pygmy hairy-footed gerbils to ensure they were not negatively affected by the construction of the port’s Admin Craft Basin.
“Other environmental initiatives include rainwater harvesting for ablution purposes, the implementation of the department of environmental affairs’ approved environmental management plans and a marine mammal monitoring programme,” Tetyana said.
Port manager Tandi Lebakeng said nurturing its green status was part of its mandate to be compliant with and prioritise environmental legislation.
“We are particularly looking forward to executing our future capital projects – and without harm to the environment,” she said.