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April 11, 2019

Environmental experts stress need for adopting renewable energy sources


April 11, 2019

Pakistan is one of those countries which have been greatly affected by climate change, although its contribution to the carbon emissions is negligible.

Environmental experts said this on Wednesday as they spoke at a workshop for a project on renewable energy sources, titled ‘Introducing Renewable Energy Solutions to Enhance Energy Security and Build Climate Resilience in Karachi’.

The experts called for shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources as fossil fuels were the biggest cause of carbon emissions, which resulted in climate change.

The project implemented in Rehri, Mauripur, and Gadap Town of Karachi was financially supported by the Nordic Climate Facility of the Nordic Development Fund (NDF). The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and K-Electric (KE) were the lead implementing partners in the project, which successfully piloted innovative alternatives and renewable energy solutions for over 2,000 households located in the peri-urban areas of Karachi.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Babar Khan, the Worldwide Fund for Nature-Pakistan regional head for Sindh and Balochistan, said cities from all over the world, being major economic and industrial hubs, contributed about 70 per cent of total carbon dioxide emissions.

He stressed the need for promoting alternative and renewable energy solutions in Karachi to meet the growing energy demand of the city.

Dr Khan was of the view that peri-urban areas of the city in particular should be preferred for such initiatives as they were highly dependent on natural resources, had limited access to basic amenities and were prone to disasters induced by climate change.

Zehra Mehdi, deputy director sustainability management at KE, said the power utility was striving to promote renewable energy resources in the city and had also generated 50 megawatts of renewable energy in this connection.

She maintained that an extra 150 megawatts will be added soon to overcome electricity shortage in the city. Terming the pilot project a big achievement, she said it had been successful with promising results.

The KE representative maintained that the rapid increase in population and urbanisation was a major challenge to meet energy, water and other basic needs. She informed the gathering that to promote a green environment the power utility had planted 120,000 native plants across the city in 2017 and 2018, under the Plant for Pakistan campaign.

Sharing the community’s perspective about the project, Muhammad Ibrahim Jat from Rehri said shifting to biogas helped save significant amount of wood and cooking time of women as well as reduced their exposure to smoke.

Khuda Ganj, a resident of Mubarak village, said they never had access to electric bulbs in their homes and they usually used a small torch or candle to illuminate their homes at night.

“We now feel safe as there is no fear of snake or scorpion bites at night. Our children can now also study at night and women have extra time for embroidery and patchwork that helps them generate additional income to support their families,” he added.

Sharing details of the initiative, Hamera Aisha, WWF-Pakistan project manager, said a total of 1,650 home-based solar units were provided to people in 27 off-grid villages of Gadap Town and Mauripur under the project.