MechChem Africa March 2019

The ugly truth about climate change

John J Coetzee, CEO of GreenWorx Cleaning Solutions, talks about the dangers and risks we face due to climate change and some of the things we can do in mitigation.

However, the Agricultural Sector is not the only industry at risk. Climate change affects all businesses to some degree through the impact it has on resources –either directly, such as water supply, or indirectly, such as electricity. Many businesses in the Western Cape, for example, faced a real challenge with drought and water problems. Resources that had been allocated towards helping to maintain and grow businesses had to instead be put towardsmaintaining the facilities’ most basic natural resources. Recognising that there is a problem, although important, is not sufficient in and of itself. Further action needs to be taken to understand the problem and to implement a solution. John J Coetzee, CEO of Green Worx Cleaning Solutions, says, “Our world is in real trouble, butwehave themeans at our disposal to educate ourselves about the dangers and risks and to readjust our behaviour for the best possibleoutcome. There aremany things thatwecando, for instance, not usingcleaning products that pollute the air.” The issue liesmainly in the volatile organic

Green Worx Cleaning Solutions ISO 14001, Global GreenTag, SABS and Green Building Council of South Africa (GBSCA) certified, Green Worx supplies innovative, environmentally responsible, biotechnology products based on the use of natural microbes and enzymes. GreenWorx alsooffers green cleaning and sanitation consulting and solutions, pollution control and environmental remediation products to industrial and commercial entities, as well as to con- sumers. The company prides itself on its associationswithglobal leaders providing innovative, effective and high-quality products and solutions to meet specific customer needs. “It is in our everyday habits that we gen- erate the most pollution. The small things that you don’t even think of often have the largest negative effect on the environment, our families and our businesses. These are the things that are used regularly and in our everyday environment. Fortunately, that also means that they are the things we have direct control over, they are the things we can change to ensure a healthier future for ourselves, our loved ones, the economy, and our world,” concludes Coetzee. q compounds (VOCs) found in chemical-based cleaningproducts,perfumesandpaints.These reactwith other chemicals in the atmosphere and create harmful ozone, which can lead to breathing and health problems to those who inhale it. Air pollution also directly adds to and impacts climate change. The world simply isn’t able to keep up with the harmful chemicals and pollutants society is adding to the atmosphere every day. According to Alastair Lewis, professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of York; “It’s hard to say how much pollution is down to VOCs, but a rough estimate is that between one quarter and a third of all particles are made up of organic compounds that originate as VOCs.” It is thus essential that practices and tech- nologies be shifted to reduceVOCs. Reducing the country’s carbon footprint by altering everyday practices – such as car-pooling to work and shifting to innovative bio-enzyme cleaningproducts, for example–make amuch larger impact than many realise.

C limate change is a real problem, it is not just going to disappear simply by looking the other way. It is a serious issue that needs to be recognised and addressed. The issue, al- though fundamentally and most importantly an environmental one, alsohas a ripple effect, which negatively impacts businesses and the economic climate at large. Themost obvious impact to SouthAfrica’s economics through climate change will be to the Agricultural Sector. In a farming coun- try such as South Africa, the Agricultural Sector is of vital importance to the country’s economic stability. Climate change directly affects the production of crops, which in turn puts the sector’s agricultural output at risk.

Small things, at work and at home, often have the largest negative effect on the environment. Fortunately, these are the things we have direct control over, Coetzee suggests.

“When a problem arises do not ignore it. Take the time to evaluate it. Take the time to understand it in an effort to discover and implement a solution” – Wendy Nicole Anderson.

34 ¦ MechChem Africa • March 2019

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