The NED University of Engineering & Technology has actively started working on a plan to make its campus a carbon-neutral zone by the year 2021 when the university will be commemorating the centennial year of its foundation. A carbon-neutral environment means initiation of a number of mitigation measures especially extensive tree plantation to completely neutralise effects of harmful carbon emissions in a particular area due to greenhouse gases.
In this connection, the NED University in partnership with the Karachi Centre, Institution of Engineers Pakistan (IEP) hosted the first two-day International Conference on Carbon Neutral Built Environment 2018. Speaking on the occasion, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the university Prof Dr Muhammad Tufail stressed on the need to fill the knowledge gap pertaining to climate and environment issues.
He pointed out that this conference is one of the major opportunities to apprise oneself of the current challenges and solutions available to help develop carbon neutral built environment. The Conference Patron, and the Vice-Chancellor NED University, Prof Dr Sarosh Hashmat Lodi provided the conference overview to the audience.
He said that the Carbon Neutral Campus was an initiative related to Centennial year celebrations of NED University, as they were targeting it through actions like energy conservation, planting trees and using renewable sources. Our direct contribution to CO2 emissions is 3120 million tonnes of Equivalent CO2, which is equivalent to approximately planting 140,000 trees equivalent. Through this initiative, NED University is aiming to become a live lab for Carbon Neutrality, said the NED University VC as he invited industries to join hands in the partnership.
He also shared that some 40 students and their teachers from six different schools from Islamkot, Thar were joining NED University where they alongside children from Karachi schools will be planting trees under a Thar Karachi student mobility campaign for reducing carbon footprint.
The NED University has partnered in this activity with Higher Education Commission, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company and Thar Foundation. The beauty of the campaign is that each plant is geotagged with the pair of students that plant it, and as long as the plant lives, the students will be able to see the CO2 that their plant has helped to reduce in real time.
Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest, Chairman IEP Karachi Engr Sohail Bashir, appreciated the efforts of the NED University and hoped that other institutions will also join the effort and play a more collective role to magnify the impact. Later, he also planted a tree to kick start the initiative.
The conference was also joined by Dr Mansoor Ali from the UK, who shared his experience of carbon neutrality with the audience and provided valuable insight on the experiences of the developed world. Conference chair, Prof Dr Saad Ahmed Qazi, while speaking with the media, indicated that the conference is the first step towards a larger strategic objective of achieving campus wide carbon neutrality.
Later, the closing ceremony of conference hosted thirty-five school students from six schools of Tharparkar region, who alongside school students of Karachi planted geo-tagged trees on the NED University soil. The drive was called "CO2 Smart - Thar Karachi Student Mobility Campaign for reducing Carbon Footprint". Sindh Minster for Women Development, Syeda Shehla Raza, was the chief guest, while Javed Memon, HEC Regional Director was the guest of honour on the occasion. Both the distinguished guests also planted trees alongside the students.
Prof Dr Saad Ahmed Qazi, conference chair provided an overview of the project to the audience. He said that every student that had arrived from Tharparkar is visiting Karachi for the very first time in his or her life. And, that this experience will enable them to broaden their exposure and help them grow into future leaders in their regions.
Afterwards, the CO2smart website was inaugurated by the provincial minister Shehla Raza. The website allows the viewers to see the amount of CO2 that has been absorbed by the planted trees in real time, giving an immediate sense of achievement to the students who planted it. On the occasion, the provincial minister greatly appreciated the efforts of NED University, HEC and Thar Foundation in converting an innovative technological idea into reality. She also shared various initiatives undertaken by the Sindh Government for uplifting of Tharparkar.