Tight lockdown measures in most countries around the world have resulted in unintended, but positive, consequences for the environment. Nature has been given the opportunity to reclaim some of her natural position and many regions have experienced a significant reduction in various forms of pollution.
According to the World Economic Forum, evidence of this lies largely in the reduction of nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) emissions. This major air pollutant is closely linked to factory output and vehicles operating on the roads, and its reduction is so great that the environmental impact changes are even visible from space.
This significant drop, predominantly observed over major contributors China and Europe, is good news for global health, with the World Health Organisation estimating that conditions stemming from exposure to ambient pollution – including stroke, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses – kill about 4.2-million people a year.
Launched in 2009, the AfriSam-SAIA Sustainable Design Award have continued to shine the spotlight on sustainability by profiling innovative solutions. The Award has grown into South Africa’s most prestigious sustainable design awards programme, drawing an exciting range of entries in sustainable architecture, and creating public awareness and debate on sustainability in the built environment.
“AfriSam plays a leading role in creating awareness and establishing open debate about sustainability within the broader context of the industry,” explains AfriSam’s Sales and Marketing Executive, Richard Tomes.
“The awarded projects and programmes make a positive contribution to communities and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as the reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation and the use of sustainable or renewable construction materials.”
The awards comprise four categories namely Sustainable Architecture, Research in Sustainability, Sustainable Products and Technology and Sustainable Social Programmes, which recognise contributions that bring sustainable innovation to human living environments through an integrated approach to communities, planning, design, architecture, building practice, natural systems and technology.
The current situation and lockdown have resulted in an opportunity for entry extension with entries now closing on 3 July 2020.
“The current global situation resulting from Covid-19 has forced us all to adapt our behaviour to ensure environmental sustainability and our survival. Covid-19 makes the case for a more sustainable world, and in this context, the awards and what they stand for are more relevant than ever,” concludes Tomes.