19 February 2023
Sindh opts for Solarized Housings & Ecofriendly Energy
The Sindh government has decided to solarize 200,000 housing units in rural and urban areas across the province with the support of the World Bank. The decision was taken at a meeting between Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh and a delegation of the World Bank headed by its Director Najy Benhassine at the energy department. According to Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh the panels would be installed in all districts of the province under the Sindh Solar Project. “Over 200,000 houses or units will be solarized in both rural and urban areas of all districts as part of the provincial government`s major initiative to end the energy crisis”. He also added a subsidy of $160 per house or unit in rural areas and $110 in urban areas would be given.
The Minister said the importance of generating green environment-friendly energy was increasing rapidly in view of climate-change impacts. He also added there are many opportunities for blue economy in this sector, “The speed of wind in the sea is many times better than on land, so wind turbines can be installed on the sea and beaches to generate cheaper electricity”. Besides, floating solar energy units would be created for economic development of the country. For that an economic zone could be established in coastal area, which would be an important milestone in the development of the coastal area.
The KPK government to market its Carbon Credits
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has developed a plan to market through the World Bank its carbon credits on account of generating clean hydel and solar power without polluting the environment. In this connection, the energy and power department has moved a note to the KP chief secretary`s office, requesting him to authorize it for approaching the World Bank for provision of technical assistance and facilities for certification and marketing of the province`s carbon credits to enable the department to claim its due share by marketing these assets owned by the provincial government in a better way. An Islamabad-based not-for-profit organization Pakistan Environment Trust (PET) has estimated that these projects can fetch US$60 million annually for KP.
Carbon credit is a permit which allows a country or organisation to produce a certain amount of carbon emissions that can be traded globally with other companies with larger carbon footprint. The KP government through Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (Pedo), has a legitimate claim of its share in the market as Pedo has been generating clean energy for the last almost three decades, stated in the note prepared for claiming the carbon credit. At present, Pedo has been generating 161.8MW hydel power through hydropower projects (HPP) for the national grid, 28,884KW through community owned micro hydel power stations and 16,054.67KW through various solar projects on daily basis.
Paints becoming harmful for Children Health
Paint is an essential building material used in construction for coloring and coating. A new research, jointly carried out by doctors of Aga Khan University Karachi and experts from the Lead Exposure Elimination Project (LEEP), has found that 40% of oil-based paints sampled from the market contained dangerous and illegal levels of lead in the paints, seriously endangering health of children. The study tested 60 residential use paints from 21 brands for sale in Karachi and it was found that 40 per cent of the paints sampled contained levels of lead higher than the country`s mandatory limit and above the level recommended by the World Health Organisation. Some paints contained lead levels 1,000 times above the limit set by WHO, the study says.
LEEP is an international NGO and a member of UN Environmental Program and WHO`s Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint and it works with policymakers and industry to end the sale of lead paints across the world. Its mission is to eliminate childhood lead poisoning and improve the health of children worldwide. Itis currently working with several national governments to eliminate lead paint. The research said that Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), therefore, has called on paint manufacturers to urgently remove lead from their products.
A Check on Structural Strength of Buildings in Islamabad
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) of Islamabad has directed owners of all commercial and highrise buildings of the capital to get their buildings vetted for structural stability from third party consultants as Islamabad is in Seismic Zone. A letter, which was addressed to all three directors of building control states “As Islamabad is in Zone 2-B (Seismic), so Chairman CDA has desired that building control should conduct survey of all commercial buildings/high rise buildings within ICT limits so that awareness be created amongst the stake holders regarding the importance of structural stability of buildings.” It also reads that all developers, owners, occupants are advised that buildings should be vetted for structural stability from reputable third party consultants, so as to avoid any untoward event.
It is relevant to note here that Pakistan is particularly prone to earthquakes as it lies over the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates and is likely to experience violent tremors where the two plates collide. Islamabad is also partially located on a fault line. A CDA officer, therefore, clarifies “There is no need to panic. We are doing this exercise to check structural stability of buildings. The reports of consultants to be hired by owners/ occupants will inform us if building structures are stable or not. So this is an exercise to point out faulty buildings, if any, to avoid any untoward incident.”
“Climate for Peace” & Plastic Pollution
“We are seeing climate change impacts crossing borders and wreaking havoc. What went on in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan.” Federal Minister for Climate Change and Environment Senator Sherry Rehman has made this statement calling climate change as the catastrophic for all the world`s ecosystems, including humans. She said, while speaking at the second day of the ongoing Pakistan International Maritime Expo and Conference, that is the need of the hour that we respond to climate change proactively. “Bombing and other methods of modern warfare directly harm wildlife and biodiversity. Pollution from war contaminates bodies of water, soil, air and makes areas unsafe for people to inhabit. Therefore, states must pursue peace,” Ms Rehman said.
The Senator further said that it is predicted in 2050 there would be more plastics in the ocean than marine life and added that oceans are the largest carbon sinks in the world and the turning to blue economy model was the key. “Oceans have absorbed 90% of global warming in the last 50 years. Microplastics have made the situation worse and are choking the oceans. The entire marine life is ingesting plastic,” she pointed out. “It is high time that we stop using plastic in all forms and shift to a plastic free lifestyle,” she said while pitching there is a need to invest in decarbonisation.