Zambia: Gradually turning to green energy technologies to save trees,

After years of extensive flooding and droughts, Zambians are gradually
turning to greener energy technologies to save trees, which could slow
the impact of climate change, according to a UN news feature.

Charcoal-fed braziers are being replaced by those burning briquettes
made of treated coal waste, which are smokeless and emit low levels of
sulphur dioxide gas. Biogas – a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide
produced by fermenting organic matter like animal or human waste,
biodegradable waste and municipal solid waste – is also being punted
as alternatives to wood fuel “Traditional energy sources, especially
wood fuel, cause deforestation and serious ecological and
environmental degradation in the country,” said Alick Muvundika, head
of the water, energy and environment programme at the government-run
National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR).
Zambia is listed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as
one of the top 10 countries with the highest annual deforestation
rates. The FAO estimates that Zambia loses about 8,000 hectares of
forest every year. Most of the trees are used as firewood or for
producing charcoal, while in many rural areas they are cut and burnt
to ash, which is used to improve soil fertility on subsistence farms.
Greener alternatives like the coal briquettes have been available in
Zambia since the 1990s, but there have been few takers.Nasri
Safieddine, who designs energy-saving traditional cookers, said there
had been little political will to promote these technologies until
recently. Power cuts and the price of charcoal are now prompting urban
Zambians to explore the greener energy alternatives, said Mr
Muvundika. A 10kg bag of coal briquettes costs about US$1.50, while
Zambians have to shell out US$5 for the same amount of charcoal, and
1.3kg of coal briquettes can burn for six hours, while the same weight
of charcoal will burn for only one and a half hours.

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Comments (2)

chuma chinzilaJanuary 31st, 2009 at 9:39 am

it is past the time that Zambia starts to take action in reversing the already felt impacts of global warming. let us as citizens employ every means we can to manage our forests and indeed our natural resources and not wait for the developed nations to initiate programmes for resource management.

AChilombo ACSeptember 13th, 2011 at 6:46 am

Great innovation in the right direction to adapt to the impacts of climate change that Zambia has already begun struggling with. Nonetheless, I doubt very strongly the political will to put in place the policy frameworks within which mitigation and adaptation measures can flourish. We need to move and to move very urgently. For example, REDD and REDD+ are fairly nascent initiatives that need nurturing and reinforcement into the already existing forestry and environmental policies. The forestry and environmental policies need to be revised and tailored according to the challenges of our time.

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