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Re-afforestation and the adoption of appropriate technology is Africa's solution to environmental damage

 Mwangaza Secondary School students plant trees. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

According to environmental experts, it is estimated that by 2050, up to 1.2 billion people could be displaced globally due to the vagaries related to climate change, occasioned by environmental pollution.

Fossil fuels used in industrial boilers, plus air, road, and rail transport count for a lot in this respect. Transport alone contributes about 30% of all carbon emissions, globally; with 72% of this being from road transport vehicles.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) hazards that by 2050, the combined annual amount of greenhouse gases emitted by industrial activities and transportation will be in the range of 40 to 50 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Africa’s share in greenhouse gas emissions is found majorly in the transport sector viz air, rail and road modes of travel. Our good forest cover could have ameliorated this, but we have depleted this by the wanton felling of trees for timber, firewood and charcoal. Huge rainforests have been destroyed and great swaths of land laid bare.

A conscious and deliberate adoption of appropriate technology is the solution.

Demonstrable commitment to transit to electric vehicle mobility has already gained traction in such African countries as Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco, Rwanda, etc. Albeit on a small scale, the growth trajectory is greatly encouraging.

However, the greatest challenge afflicting the electric vehicle space locally is the lack of adequate charging facilities. The charging infrastructure throughout Africa is scarce and unreliable. As such, African governments need to do more and provide greater incentives for more investment in this area.

Additionally, concerted efforts need to be applied, this early, to forestall the anticipated wanton dumping of expired lithium-ion battery packs which, unless anticipated could precipitate another environmental disaster.

Let us re-establish our forest cover and adopt environmentally friendly technology. The embracing of electric vehicles and other renewable energy sources will go a long way in alleviating the threat of climate change with its attendant disadvantages. 

- The author is an engineering technologist and a life enthusiast

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