As we come to the end of Zero Waste Week 2018, what have you done to minimise waste in your life?
This can be wasted food, throwing away plastic packaging to landfill, unworn clothes in your wardrobe, wasting water and energy. The one we hear the most about in the media is plastic waste. Plastic waste in the form of plastic bags, toothbrushes, disposable water bottles, straws and much more is polluting the earth and its oceans.
Plastic pollution is so bad because it takes the longest to decompose. Plastic waste can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfill. Although recycling is the best option, still many plastics used in packaging all around the world are not currently recycled.
Whether we are talking about greenhouse gas emissions or waste pollution, there are steps everyone can take to reduce both. For waste, try to cut down on your spending on food and clothes, only buy what is necessary. Donate any excess clothes you don’t use to charity. Take shorter showers to save water and fill washing machines and dishwashers full. Avoid buying things with too much plastic packaging or check whether it can be recycled before purchasing.
To reduce your greenhouse gas pollution, substitute cars for public transport or carshare on your commute. Cycle and walk more. Source products locally and turn down domestic appliances in your home such as cooking, heating and water to the minimum.
These are all ways that will minimise your waste and carbon footprint on the environment.
In the last month, borehole projects in the country of Eritrea have credited over 133,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent saved! The equivalent in weight is 88 fully grown Blue Wales, the largest mammal on Earth, or 1683 heavily laden Boeing 737’s!
The projects in the areas of Zoba Maekel and Zoba Debub, Eritrea generate emissions reductions by displacing the need to boil water for purification. This is the most common method people use to purify contaminated water from unsafe sources such as open wells, rivers and streams. The main cost people incur to boil water is time, wood is freely collected from surrounding forests and farm fields causing local deforestation.
Within the household traditional 3-stone stoves, used for boiling water, pollute the air with smoke which contributes to a range of illnesses and acute health impacts. Traditionally, women are the main cooks who tend to these stoves multiple times a day. They are also the primary child carers meaning the adverse effects of smoke disproportionately fall on women and children.
Traditional 3-Stone Stove. Source: servinghandskc
Working Borehole in Zoba Maekel, Eritrea
Borehole in Zoba Maekel, Eritrea
Studies have linked early childhood acute lower-respiratory infections such as asthma and pneumonia to child exposure to smoke. For adults, risks of lung cancer, cataracts, bronchitis and more have been associated with prolonged smoke exposure.
With clean water, project participants have increased health benefits from a reduction in stomach and smoke related illnesses. They spend less time collecting water and boiling is eradicated. There is less deforestation in the local area and furthermore, the projects contribute towards the following SDG’s:
To date, these projects combined have produced over 436,994,145 litres of clean water in Eritrea. If you wish to contribute towards sustainable development in Eritrea, help fight climate change and offset your personal or company carbon footprint, please Contact Us or email firstname.lastname@example.org to hear more about the positive impacts of our projects!
In April I travelled to Kenya to visit three cookstove projects that we have in the counties of Meru, Mathira and Eldoret with the CarbonZero Kenya team. In addition, I also went to see two CSR projects that co2balance are implementing for a client in the Aberdare’s county which will involve the restoration of community dispensaries which provide consultancy and medicines for minor illnesses.
The two dispensaries included in the CSR project include Escarpment Dispensary and Mbau-Ini Dispensary. Both dispensaries receive an average of up to 30 patients a day and over 600 patients per month. They act as the first point of medical contact for local communities and treat common illnesses such as malaria, common flu and cold, skin conditions and provide vaccinations for children.
The restoration work for the clinics is very similar. Both will receive building repairs including new floors, painting of internal and external walls. Both will also have new latrines installed which will provide more hygienic toilets for visitors to the clinics and the staff.
Land around the two dispensaries will be reclaimed for productive purposes including growing vegetables and providing safe environment for children to play in the grounds. Fences around the dispensaries will be repaired to increase security for the stored medicines and to keep animals away.
I am excited to see the clinics once the restoration works are finished. It is surprising how some colourful paint and a neater outside area can completely change the look of a building and make it more welcoming for patients.
Escarpment Dispensary – land to be reclaimed
Escarpment Dispensary – base for new latrines
Escarpment Dispensary – construction works
Mbau-Ini Dispensary – floor to be refurbed
Mbau-Ini Dispensary – inside rooms to be repainted
Final Cookstove Project Verifications
While in Kenya we also visited three cookstove project areas in Meru, Mathira and Eldoret. It was interesting to see the contrast between the geographies of the areas and the different housing materials used.
Cookstove beneficiaries were very grateful for the stoves and a lot of the ones we saw were in excellent condition which is fantastic given some are more than 7 years old! People have really looked after the stoves and the main reason for this is that they use less wood fuel compared to traditional stove alternatives. Therefore maintaining the stove means that people spend less time collecting wood fuel for cooking.
In addition, the stoves are more efficient in transferring fuel to heat meaning they cook food faster which coincides with people’s lifestyles in the villages who make majority of their income from agriculture and are required to be out in their fields for a large part of the day.
Cookstove with user in Meru
To summarise, I would like to say a big thank you to the staff at the dispensaries who work hard to keep the local communities in good health and thanks to the cookstove beneficiaries who welcomed us into their homes and offered us delicious bananas. Furthermore, I would like to say a huge thank you to the CarbonZero team in Kenya who do fantastic work and who made the trip so enjoyable and provided the best company for my two weeks in Kenya.
Last week in Bonn, Germany, the latest round of United Nations Climate negotiations were hosted by Fiji. The talks brought together 197 Parties to progress the implementation of the Paris Agreement starting in 2020. The overarching themes of the negotiations included getting on track towards the Paris Agreement objectives and ultimately achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, something the Gold Standard has formally recognised in its new guidelines – Gold Standard for the Global Goals.
Key actions at COP23 included Syria announcing it would sign the Paris Agreement. The UK and Canada also lead a new initiative to phase out coal use for electricity generation. Traditional coal powered plants are significant contributors to climate change and impose localised negative pollution effects. Eradicating the use of coal is needed by 2030 for developed nations and no later than 2050 for developing countries in order to meet the critical limit of 1.5°C set in the Paris Agreement.
Fortunately, the plummeting cost of generating electricity from renewables makes clean growth a more viable option for many jurisdictions. This can be helped further by more finance being directed towards climate action. This gathered a lot of attention at COP23 with many country members announcing funds to support the poorest and most vulnerable countries negatively affected by climate change.
Overall, the conference made important progress on implementing the Paris agreement with the international community pledging to take more ambitious action to mitigate climate change. We look forward to the next round of talks, COP24, which takes place in December 2018 in Poland.
Hi everyone, I’m Ilona and I am a newly appointed member of the co2balance UK based team in Taunton. My role as Carbon Projects Officer has stretched two weeks now and I already feel welcomed and excited to work with such a knowledgeable team holding expertise in the management of carbon offset projects internationally. I’m really passionate about mitigating climate change and more importantly, providing environmental, economic and social benefits to developing communities through co2balance projects.
I have recently finished an MSc in Agricultural Economics at the University of Reading where I focused on climate change and development in sub-Saharan Africa. My dissertation, which looked at the social impacts of gender in rural communities in Uganda, has helped me to understand the daily challenges faced by rural men and women – knowledge which I can apply when assessing the benefits of small projects which frequently have large positive impacts!
I’m really looking forward to working on projects which transition the lives of local communities and provide vulnerable people with water and cooking facilities, in addition to containing measurable emissions reductions. Working with the team so far has been very enjoyable and I hope to continue to learn from them and get up to speed with on-going projects, and meet the overseas staff in the future.
My hobbies outside of work are cycling, mountain walking and practicing the French language. I hope to be writing on the blog again soon with some co2balance project updates. Until then, below is a picture of me with the first tree I planted in Cornwall in 2016.