More than a Renewable Energy

GLF 2017 Blog Competition
Kaze Delphin

Known by many names that embellish its ecological nature, Ecological charcoal also called Green coal is still improving the living standards of those who preferred it as a source of energy in cities as well as in rural areas. It has got many different common names depending on the place due to the role it serves in that particular place. In Burundi, some people named “TABARA IGITI” – which means “SAVE THE TREE”, This is an objective name that not only markets the product but also qualifies the latter being an alternative to cutting down trees since a tree has always been an important cultural asset . The Burundian monarchy protected the tree as well as the forests due to their great importance in many traditional practices like being a link between God and people while others served for the necropolis of the Queens Mothers. This eagerness to keep cultural values played an important role in forest conservation. Indeed, these forests have provided many ecosystem goods to the Burundian population, from their primary activities as well as providing a good atmospheric appearance to becoming a source of energy most used in cooking.

In Burundi, charcoal is the main cooking fuel for urban households and accounts for 96,6 % of total energy use, 77% of all charcoal supplies are used by city dwellers ( According to BOIS ET FORÊTS DES TROPIQUES , 2016 , N°328, P 46 ). Following rapidly increasing demand, its production has been identified as a major cause of forest degradation and deforestation especially in peri-urban areas. In addition of those who use firewood, the forests of Burundi are currently being degraded such that some areas no longer have natural forests ignoring the fact that the artificial forests are also on a constant threat. As a result, the livelihoods are disturbed without considering its effect on climate change.

Who cannot admire these innovators who always find solutions to the problems that harass our planet?

By recycling household organic waste and agricultural residues with some kind of techniques like incomplete carbonization and compaction of the resulting powder, “Ecological coal Initiative” was implemented. The ecological charcoal, as it’s an environmentally friendly cooking energy, plays as an alternative to deforestation in search for charcoal, this grandstands the possibility to restoration of landscapes. Ecological coal Initiative aims at waste management and promoting the achievement of sustainable development goals.

It is very difficult and close to impossible to achieve the SDGs without having restored the destroyed forests since they are significant part of landscapes. The production of ecological charcoal based on household organic waste or on agricultural residues is actively involved in the restoration of forests. The use of green coal in everyday life as an alternative to charcoal or firewood can save 5,236 to 6,580 hectares of forests every year (According to BOIS ET FORÊTS DES TROPIQUES, 2016, N°328, P 46). It is important to extend this initiative of green coal in other developing countries especially Burundi, so as to end deforestation and regenerate the landscapes.

This coal is really green as its name says. The forests, which it safeguards, play a key role in carbon sequestration. Its production advantages, which are not limited to sanitation, also contribute to the reduction of Greenhouse gases that would be emitted by organic wastes, during decomposition, once left on the ground. Moreover, the green coal production emits little CO2 than wood charcoal production.

Although we cannot deny that always the human activities are responsible for many environmental problems, all these benefits mentioned above have a positive impact on the cost of production, it is affordable for all; even in rural areas, people can easily make that green coal themselves from agricultural residues so all these make it sound well for inclusion.

Green coal bears an advantage since it transpires no smokes, very clean and long lasting. As the most preferable energy by the households and restaurants, it presents a great opportunity for investment, as also in boarding schools and military camps it may function sustainably, of course if available. Investors to promote the production of green charcoal are still scarce, a gap that demand to be filled.

Who cannot welcome this initiative that could remove the burden on women from rushing into forests to collect firewood? Not to mention the different dangers to which they are exposed in these forests like sexual harassment and so on. All the same in education, let children never be disturbed again in their studies by the burden of collecting firewood. The green coal initiative is here for our daily cooking energy needs.

The ecological coal initiative has landscapes restoration as the main objective then job creation as well as generating income, a climate action and finally provision of a clean renewable energy. Endorsing the use of green coal carries many possible solutions that the society yearns for; those include protection and restoration of landscapes, sustainable forest management, employment opportunities, rehabilitation of biodiversity and combat desertification.

All these benefits will be granted to your community once you endorse green coal initiative. What are you waiting for? This is the right time for you!!!

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