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Het jy dalk gewonder oor die skielike smaraggroenplante wat langs die pad tussen Oudtshoorn enCalitzdorp voorkom? Hierdie plante is alombekendas ‘Pronkgras’ (Fountain grass) of te wel Pennisetumsetaceum, die botaniese naam.Pronkgras kom oorspronklik uit Noord-Afrika, maaris as ‘n sierplant na baie dele van die wêreld versprei,o.a. die VSA (Arizona, Kalifornië, Colorado, Hawaii,Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee), Australië, dieGalapagos Eilande, die Midde-Ooste en Suider-Afrika. Die spesie aard veral goed in droë areas en in die VSA het dit woestyne, grasvelde, canyons en padreserwes ingedring en besmet.In Suid-Afrika is dit ‘n verklaarde onkruidspesie (interme van die Landbouhulpbronbewaringswet), watbesig is om vinnig in veral die droë dele (soos dieGroot Karoo, Klein Karoo, die Oos-Kaap) te versprei.Die spesie is hoogs aggressief en vermeerder enverdig vinnig in versteurde areas langs paaie,vanwaar dit mettertyd dreinasielyne en droërivierlope binnedring en uiteindelik totaal verstop.Dit verdring ander inheemse spesies en skep ‘nernstige brandgevaar wanneer dit digte stande vorm.Boonop het dit ‘n lae voedingswaarde vir vee enwild, vanweë die veselagtigheid en silika-inhoudvan die blare. Kortom – dit is ‘n nuttelose engevaarlike grasspesie, wat die besonderseplantegroei van die area bedreig. Daarom is dit kritiesdat ons hierdie spesie nóu moet vasvat.
Ecotourism and adventure travel are among the fastest growing segments of the global tourism trade. While it is undeniable that travel uses resources and can harm the environment, it is also true that it can provide many benefits, such as supporting local economies, providing economic alternatives to exploitative practices, and spreading cross-cultural awareness. It is true that people are much more likely to protect the planet if they see it first-hand. The key is to go gently, and authentic eco tourism offers just that.
It is almost impossible to separate a tourism experience in South Africa from a nature experience and specifically to this area. So rich is the Garden Route & Klein Karoo in scenic beauty and wildlife, that these facets remain the strongest motivation for overseas tourists to visit this region.
As an eco-destination, South Africa has an enormous responsibility. The international definition of the word eco-tourism implies far more than merely a nature-experience. The word environment in its broader context has come to include the diverse community activities and cultures of a country’s inhabitants, as well as its scarce and sensitive natural resources. Eco-tourism implies tourism practices that would benefit all concerned parties rather than benefit some concerns and neglect others. The term “eco-tourism” has therefore come to include concepts such as planning before development, sustainability of resources, economic viability of a tourism product, no negative impact on either the environment and local communities, responsibility for the environment from developers, the tourism industry and tourism, environmentally friendly practices by all parties concerned and economic benefits flowing to local communities.
The naturally diverse Garden Route and Klein Karoo are fantastic destinations for the keen eco-tourist to explore. With ever growing numbers of “eco-options” available, visitors can enjoy a wonderful holiday, whilst helping to ensure the sustainability of the local environment and communities, always making sure to travel the true eco-way and “Take only pictures, leave only footprints”.
With stunning natural landscapes and an abundance of uniquely African wildlife, it is no wonder that several “Eco-Lodges” have sprung up around South Africa’s Garden Route and Klein Karoo to accommodate the responsible eco-tourist. Another important facet to the eco-tourist’s holiday is ensuring that the effect on nature’s creatures is kept to a minimum. Once again the Garden route and Klein Karoo provide plenty of options for wildlife viewing with minimal impact. With wildlife safaris proving to be one of the most popular activities here, several operators in this malaria-free area offer guests safaris in reserves where conservation and ensuring the way of life for the magnificent animals of the African veld are a top priority.
Eco-tourism is not only about watching the wildlife, it’s also about giving a little something back to the local environment and community. On offer in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo are a range of tours and activities where travellers are given plenty of opportunity to help boost the local economy and contribute to conservation efforts. A tour of a local township is a great way to experience how daily life is for many millions of South Africans, and gives visitors the chance to see and contribute to the many vital community projects that are bringing about a real positive change.
Biomass is renewable; we are going to carry on making waste products, plants and trees are going to die and the cycle will continue. This ensures that the sources contributing to biomass are always available.
The use of biomass can be environmentally friendly because the biological mass is reduced, recycled and then re-used.
Innovations and ideas in which biomass can be used are continually being invented. One such way is the production of ethanol, a liquid alcohol fuel. Ethanol can be used in special types of cars that have been manufactured to accept alcohol fuels instead of petrol. This innovation helps reduce our dependence on oil.
APPLICATIONS OF BIOMASS ENERGY
Biomass energy provides an alternative source of energy. In rural India biomass is used for cooking and agricultural growth. It has been very useful for village households that own cattle. Through a simple process the cattle dung is used to produce a gas which is then used as fuel for cooking. The surplus dung is used as manure.
The use of sugarcane to produce electricity is increasingly being used in Indian sugar mills: this is being done to clean the environment, cut down power costs and earn additional revenue. After the juice has been extracted from the sugarcanes, the leftover pulp – bagasse – is sold to power plants. Here, the bagasse is burned. The energy produced is then provided to the sugar mills.
Biomass power plants are becoming very popular. Using resources that are easily available makes the production of energy efficient and reliable.
BIOMASS ENERGY PRODUCTION IN SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa’s Bio-energy project sees its origins in Durban. The Ethekwini (Greater Durban) Municipality is considering using gas from three of its landfills to generate electricity for the city.
This project is in line with South Africa’s agreement to uphold the regulations of the Kyoto Protocol and at the same time support the implementation of a Clean Development Mechanism.
The project is estimated to illuminate 9 000 homes which requires 10 Megawatts of electricity to be produced.
As much as 80 000 tons of coal could be saved per year, which would otherwise have been burnt and added to the greenhouse gasses already present in the atmosphere.
This project was initiated during the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The project is funded by the Prototype Carbon Fund – a funding organization established by the World Bank.