As cities across the country struggle to deal with the massive amount of pollution plaguing them, a village in Kerala's Wayanad district is setting an example by attempting to become the first panchayat in the state to have net zero carbon footprint.
Marking the World Environment Day on Sunday, state finance minister Finance minister TM Thomas Isaac launched a project to make Meenangadi the first carbon neutral panchayat.
â€œOnce Meenangadi achieves carbon neutrality , it will have a significant and positive impact across various sectors including agriculture. The agriculture produce from the panchayat, including coffee, can be marketed with the carbon-neutral tag," The Times of India quoted Thomas Issac as saying.
The seed of the idea too came from the minister himself.
"It was in December last year when Thomas Issac told us about the project. He had then just returned from the Paris Climate Change Conference. This project mainly aims to find out the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and to neutralise it," Beena Vijayan, Meenangadi panchayat President, told The News Minute.
Dr.T.M Thomas Isaac/Facebook
The project is being carried out with the help of Thanal, the zoology department of Kannur University, and the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation. A survey will be first carried out in the region after which a proper blueprint for action will be prepared.
"They will scientifically find out the sources of carbon dioxide emission by conducting surveys in houses, in all other small and big institutions and vehicular emissions in the region.Our next step will be then to neutralize it using different methods like afforestation, promoting renewable energy, etc.," she explained.
This is however not the first time that Meenangadi has adopted an environment-friendly initiative. Beena added that almost 25 acres of land had been earlier converted to forest under the "Punyavanam" project following which Thomas Issac acknowledged their efforts.
What is carbon neutrality?
GoGreen describes the two common uses of the term as such:
"It can refer to the practice of balancing carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, with renewable energy that creates a similar amount of useful energy, so that the carbon emissions are compensated, or alternatively using only renewable energies that don't produce any carbon dioxide (this last is called a post-carbon economy).
It is also used to describe the practice, criticized by some, of carbon offsetting, by paying others to remove or sequester 100% of the carbon dioxide emitted from the atmosphereâ€“ for example by planting trees â€“ or by funding 'carbon projects' that should lead to the prevention of future greenhouse gas emissions, or by buying carbon credits to remove them through carbon trading. These practices are often used in parallel, together with energy conservation measures to minimize energy use."