Johannesburg - Economic development needs to be balanced with
environment needs, Gauteng social development and agriculture MEC Nandi
Mayathula-Khoza said on Wednesday.
"To be sustainable, Gauteng must respond to climate
challenges, establish viable communities, and create people-friendly
urban settings," she said in Johannesburg.
"Rapidly increasing levels of unemployment, the
prevalence of HIV/Aids, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the
increasing levels of poverty in the province, all have a detrimental
impact on the biophysical environment."
While some farmers were using sustainable methods, the
department was working on realistic targets to increase the overall
sustainability of farming in the province.
Tap water in the province was the best in the country,
in terms of the Blue Drop rating, but natural water resources were
"clearly under stress".
"In addition, acid mine drainage... is the greatest current concern relating to groundwater resources," Mayathula-Khoza said.
Air quality also remained a concern with the burning of
fossil fuels, vehicle, and industrial emissions causing most of the
In the past five years, Gauteng had made a "dramatic
reduction" in lead concentrations through tighter fuel regulations, she
These included reductions in the maximum sulphur content of diesel and phasing-out lead-based additives to petrol.
Environmental awareness and considerations were incorporated into many development projects.
Greater access to basic services was necessary to
addressing health issues related to poor environmental conditions,
especially in marginalised communities.
While great strides had been made towards implementing
environmental legislation, "the challenge going forward is to monitor
and implement tools to ensure continued environmental improvement",