Material flow analysis of wood fuel in small urban areas : the case of Tsumeb Namibia

Mlunga, Lydia (2012-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The current ways in which the human population continues to utilise natural resources in order to satisfy their lifestyle remains unsustainable. One such activity is the use of biomass resources mainly for cooking, heating and boiling water which sustains an estimated 2.4 billion people living in developing countries. Biomass not only is the fourth largest energy source after coal, oil and natural gas, but it is currently the largest renewable energy option and yet it has received minimal attention especially from current energy debates in developing countries. Literature shows cases of cities that remain ‘uncertain’ of their development agendas (regarding energy). The uncertainty is a result of most cities relying heavily on fossil fuel which is in most cases imported which minimises the possibilities of cities to come up with sustainable energy projects. As cities continue to grow the supply of this unsustainable energy puts cities in an uncertain position regarding the future energy sources of their cities. There are cities that have now realised the importance of understanding the flow of wood fuels in order to put in measures that can help manage the resource better. Most of them use a GIS-based tool, Wood fuel Integrated Supply Demand Overview Mapping Model (WISDOM) which was developed to analyse the wood fuel supply and demand spatial patterns. Tsumeb is currently also moving in an ‘uncertain’ direction especially when it comes to the energy needs of the town characterised by high electricity tariffs, increased population leading to clearing of land, high unemployment rate and distorted priorities (of the municipality). The Material Flow Analysis (MFA) of wood fuels in Tsumeb is highly dominated by the informal sector. It remains unregulated and no attempt has been made to determine the household energy flow. This study is the first attempt to determine the flow of this very important household energy resource used more especially in winter. The survey revealed that firewood is used to prepare one to two meals a day especially in the townships where the households opt to consume one meal a day. Some consumers collect their own firewood and often have to purchase wood fuels to meet their individual needs. The wood fuel retailers that were surveyed in the study obtain their wood fuels from local commercial farmers and use charcoal produced both in Namibia and South African. The commercial farmers also form part of the informal sector as they supply some of the informal suppliers and consumers. Some informal suppliers resort to open forests located far from their homes, putting a lot of strain on the transport mechanisms. In order to ensure a sustainable supply of household energy in Tsumeb, It is inevitable that a new paradigm is needed in the current planning and development process of the town. Therefore for an effective implementation of policies aimed at developing wood fuels, local conditions as well as the local wood fuel flows must be understood, grassroots initiatives need to be built and community participation should be encouraged in order to get a collective approach to issues that concerns and threatens their livelihoods.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die wyse waarop die mensdom natuurlike hulpbronne aanwend om aan die eise van hul leefstyl te voldoen, bly onvolhoubaar. Een sodanige aktiwiteit is die gebruik van biomassahulpbronne, hoofsaaklik vir kosvoorbereiding en ruimte- en waterverhitting. Biomassahulpbronne onderhou geraamde 2,4 miljard inwoners van ontwikkelende lande. Dit is nie net die grootste energiebron naas steenkool, olie en aardgas nie, maar is ook tans die belowendste bron van hernubare energie. Tog ontvang dit weinig aandag. Hoewel literatuur steeds merendeels oor gevalle handel wat ‘onseker’ is oor hul ontwikkelingsagendas, is daar tóg diegene wat uiteindelik besef hoe belangrik dit is om die vloei van houtbrandstof te begryp ten einde maatreëls te tref om dié hulpbron beter te bestuur. Die meeste van hierdie lande gebruik GIS-gebaseerde instrument, naamlik die WISDOM-model (“Wood-fuel Integrated Supply Demand Overview Mapping”), wat ontwikkel is om die ruimtelike patrone van houtbrandstofvraag en -aanbod te ontleed. Die Namibiese stad Tsumeb is een van die ‘onsekeres’, veral wat sy energiebehoeftes betref, en word gekenmerk deur hoë elektrisiteitstariewe, groeiende bevolking wat al hoe meer ontbossing tot gevolg het, hoë werkloosheidsyfers en verwronge prioriteite. Die materiaalvloeiontleding wat in hierdie studie met betrekking tot die houtbrandstof in Tsumeb onderneem is, word in groot mate deur die informele sektor oorheers. Hoewel die gebruik van houtbrandstof steeds ongereguleerd is, is geen poging tot dusver aangewend om die vloei van dié uiters belangrike huishoudelike energiebron, wat veral in die wintermaande gebruik word, te bepaal nie. Die opname het getoon dat brandhout gebruik word om een tot twee maaltye per dag te berei, veral in die townships waar die huishoudings meestal een keer per dag eet. Party verbruikers maak hulle eie brandhout bymekaar, maar moet steeds bykomende hout koop om in ál hulle behoeftes te voorsien. Die houtbrandstofhandelaars wat aan die opname deelgeneem het, bekom hul houtbrandstof van plaaslike kommersiële boere en van Namibiese sowel as Suid-Afrikaanse houtskoolverskaffers. Die kommersiële boere maak ook deel uit van die informele sektor, aangesien hulle sommige informele verskaffers en verbruikers van brandstof voorsien. Van die informele verskaffers wend hulle tot die plaaslike oop woud wat ver van hulle huise geleë is, en plaas sodoende heelwat druk op vervoerstelsels. Die enigste manier waarop Tsumeb sy huidige energie-onsekerheid te bowe kan kom, is deur nuwe benadering tot houtbrandstof in te stel. Om beleid met betrekking tot die ontwikkeling van houtbrandstof doeltreffend toe te pas, moet plaaslike omstandighede sowel Die enigste manier waarop Tsumeb sy huidige energie-onsekerheid te bowe kan kom, is deur nuwe benadering tot houtbrandstof in te stel. Om beleid met betrekking tot die ontwikkeling van houtbrandstof doeltreffend toe te pas, moet plaaslike omstandighede sowelDie enigste manier waarop Tsumeb sy huidige energie-onsekerheid te bowe kan kom, is deur nuwe benadering tot houtbrandstof in te stel. Om beleid met betrekking tot die ontwikkeling van houtbrandstof doeltreffend toe te pas, moet plaaslike omstandighede sowel Die enigste manier waarop Tsumeb sy huidige energie-onsekerheid te bowe kan kom, is deur nuwe benadering tot houtbrandstof in te stel. Om beleid met betrekking tot die ontwikkeling van houtbrandstof doeltreffend toe te pas, moet plaaslike omstandighede sowel as die plaaslike vloei van houtbrandstof dus beter begryp word; moet inisiatiewe op voetsoolvlak tot stand gebring word, en moet gemeenskapsdeelname aangemoedig word. Sodoende sal die mense van Tsumeb – huishoudings, owerhede én ondernemings – gesamentlik kan reageer op kwessies wat hul bestaan beïnvloed en bedreig.

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