Cape Town is South Africa’s greenest city considering achievements such as the city’s high score in Siemens’ African Green City Index and attaining the title of the Global Earth Hour Capital of 2014.
The report by Siemens identified 15 African cities that have shown commitment towards improving their carbon footprints and promoting environmental conservation. The cities were evaluated according to factors such as air quality, land use, waste disposal, water quality, transport and sanitation. Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban were also featured in the report and each attained “above average” scores in the areas of transport, environmental governance and air quality. Cape Town scored “well above average” in the land use category, making it the highest-scoring city in Africa in the category with the greatest amount of green space allocated per person living there. The report states: “Home to multiple nature reserves containing some of the world’s rarest plant species, Cape Town has the most green space in the index. The city boasts an estimated 289 square metres of green space per person, about four times the index average of 74 square metres.”
Cape Town’s ongoing effort to improve public transport in the last six years was also recognised in the report. The city contributed over US$5.8 billion to develop a new BRT (bus-rapid transit) network similar to that in Johannesburg, making the city top the index’s list for the length of superior public transport systems, which also include metro and tram lines. Cape Town’s superior public transport system beat the index’s average by 0.04km at 0.11km. The index average is 0.07km.
Cape Town was also named the world’s Earth Hour Capital in March of last year. The challenge is run by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) in South Africa and according to the Earth Hour website, “Cape Town stood out as a role model for the global South with a showcase of green programmes and actions other cities can replicate. Cape Town also demonstrates how city strategies to reduce carbon development and battle climate change can also help tackle other development priorities such as food, energy and water security.”
Cape Town is truly an environmental trend-setter and a good example to follow for cities throughout Africa and the rest of the developing world.